Title: Support service process improvement: an application within a University Health Sciences Center

Authors: Richard A. Reid, Gary C. Cseko

Addresses: Anderson Schools of Management, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA. ' Health Sciences Center, University of New Mexico, 915 Camino de Salud NE, Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001, USA

Abstract: Clients have been critical of the lengthy turnaround time for the internal review process of research applications at a University Health Sciences Center. Two well-known Continuous Improvement (CI) frameworks, namely, the Seven-Step Model and the Deming Plan-Do-Study-Act (P-D-S-A) cycle, were synthesised to create an integrated structure for guiding improvements in this support service process for evaluating the suitability of the research protocols designed to protect the rights of human subjects. A wide variety of Total Quality (TQ) tools were used by the CI team to help summarise and display the current performance data, create and present diagrams to document and describe the existing process, facilitate the analysis of current problems and their root cause, and develop solutions to improve the study process. The goal was to implement an action plan that would eliminate the root cause and several fail points that were embedded in the current process. Initial results from a preliminary implementation of several solutions indicated that the turnaround time for the approval review process was reduced by 27%.

Keywords: seven-step model; Deming Plan-Do-Study-Act; PDSA cycle; process time reduction; case study; service improvement; Health Sciences Centre; continuous improvement; kaizen; research applications; support services; university research; research protocols; human rights; total quality; approval review; quality management; productivity.

DOI: 10.1504/IJPQM.2006.009091

International Journal of Productivity and Quality Management, 2006 Vol.1 No.4, pp.339 - 362

Published online: 28 Feb 2006 *

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