Hospitals can further improve waiting time

SGH shows positive change after it implemented Lean Healthcare programme last year.

KUCHING: The Malaysia Productivity Corporation (MPC) will continue to engage with the state’s health sector to improve patient care through the lean management system.

Its director-general Datuk Mohd Razali Hussain said congestion and long waiting time for patients in government health and clinical facilities remained an issue that needed to be resolved.

While acknowledging the positive change at the Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) since it implemented the Lean Healthcare programme last year, he urged for stronger collaboration between the private and public sectors to improve service delivery of the health sector across the state.

“We are not happy with the congestion issue. I admit there are many public complaints of the service delivery in government health clinics but this needs to be treated as a valuable input to improve the process.

“The state health sector remains the focal point of our lean management programme to improve service delivery and facilities for the people, that applies to the patients, caretakers and visitors,” he told reporters after opening the Lean Management seminar for Sabah and Sarawak region here.

MPC board of directors member Datuk Abang Abdul Karim Tun Openg and SGH director Dr Chin Zin Hing were present.

Citing the long waiting period at polyclinics, Razali said the appointment system was one solution to ease congestion.

To ensure its effectiveness, the public needed to turn up according to schedule, he said.

“Treatment process must be transparent so that patients understand the procedures. This can help improve behaviour,” he added.

Dr Chin noted that polyclinics had heavier workload, compared with hospitals.

“To control patient’s flow, we use appointment system but it is not the most practical solution, as most patients would turn up in the morning. It can be quite overwhelming but in the afternoon, the clinics would be free with fewer patients.

“Many factors cause this such as patient’s daily commitment including the availability of public transport. However, this is something we need to rectify to improve service delivery and waiting time,” he added.

In his speech earlier, Dr Chin said SGH was the first public hospital in the state to implement the Lean Healthcare initiative to increase productivity.

The programme is a management philosophy based on the Toyota Production System, which eliminates everything that does not add value (waste) in the customer’s perception.

With the support and commitment from the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) and Universiti Kuala Lumpur, the implementation of Lean Healthcare programme at SGH has managed to cut average patient discharge time at its clinical department from six hours to three hours.

SGH also managed to reduce average waiting time for patients to be attended by a doctor at the Green Zone of its Emergency and Trauma Department by 40%.

“Following this success, the Lean Healthcare initiative was extended to other departments to improve quality of service and long-term benefit of patients,” he said.

Miri Hospital implemented the Lean Healthcare programme early this year.

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