Improving Turnaround Time in a Hospital-based CT Division with the Kaizen Method

Jonathan A. Flug, Jessica A. Stellmaker, Chris D. Tollefson, Elaine M. Comstock, Efren Buelna, Brooke Truman, Lisa Ponce, Amy Milosek, John McCabe, Clinton E. Jokerst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Kaizen method is an approach to lean process improvement that is based on the idea that small ongoing positive changes can lead to major improvements in efficiency and reduction of waste. The hospital-based CT division at Mayo Clinic Arizona had been receiving numerous concerns of delays in the performance of examinations from inpatients, outpatients, and patients presenting to the emergency department. These concerns, along with a planned hospital expansion, provided the impetus to perform a process improvement project with the goal of reducing inpatient, emergency department, and outpatient turnaround times by 20%. Kaizen process improvement was chosen because of the emphasis on reduction of waste, standardization, and empowerment of frontline staff. The project was led by a process improvement coach who was trained in lean process improvement and A3 thinking. At the end of a weeklong Kaizen event, inpatient turnaround time decreased by 54%, emergency department turnaround time decreased by 29%, and outpatient turnaround time decreased by 45%. These results were achieved and sustained by establishing standardized work, de-veloping frontline problem solvers, instituting visual management, aligning with relevant metrics, emphasizing patient and staff satis-faction, and reducing lead time and non–value-added work.When done properly, a Kaizen event can be an effective tool for process improvement in the health care setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E125-E131
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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