Process mapping the patient journey an introduction

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Process mapping the patient journey: an introduction

Process mapping the patient journey: an introduction

Department of Gastroenterology, Portsmouth Hospitals Trust, Portsmouth PO6 3LY

Department of Gastroenterology, Guys and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust, London

Lean Enterprise Academy, Ross-on-Wye, Hertfordshire

Process mapping enables the reconfiguring of the patient journey from the patients perspective in order to improve quality of care and release resources. This paper provides a practical framework for using this versatile and simple technique in hospital.

Healthcare process mapping is a new and important form of clinical audit that examines how we manage the patient journey, using the patients perspective to identify problems and suggest improvements.12We outline the steps involved in mapping the patients journey, as we believe that a basic understanding of this versatile and simple technique, and when and how to use it, is valuable to clinicians who are developing clinical services.

Process mapping allows us to see and understand the patients experience3by separating the management of a specific condition or treatment into a series of consecutive events or steps (activities, interventions, or staff interactions, for example). The sequence of these steps between two points (from admission to the accident and emergency department to discharge from the ward) can be viewed as a patient pathway or process of care.4

Improving the patient pathway involves the coordination of multidisciplinary practice, aiming to maximise clinical efficacy and efficiency by eliminating ineffective and unnecessary care.5The data provided by process mapping can be used to redesign the patient pathway46to improve the quality or efficiency of clinical management and to alter the focus of care towards activities most valued by the patient.

Process mapping has shown clinical benefit across a variety of specialties, multidisciplinary teams, and healthcare systems.789The NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement proposes a range of practical benefits using this approach (box 1).6

A starting point for an improvement project specific for your own place of work

Creating a culture of ownership, responsibility

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