Optimizing Floor Space and Clinic Rooms in a Pediatric Outpatient Clinic Environment

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Operational Performance Improvement

Anthony Groh
Process Consultant
Columbus Children's Hospital

Michelle Carmon
Process Consultant
Columbus Children's Hospital

Industrial Engineers at Columbus Children's Hospital were able to successfully apply IE tools and methodology to accommodate new and existing clinics in a facility where exam room resources are limited. Time studies, simulation, and extensive collaboration with clinic leaders resulted in the addition of a third clinic in space where there were previously two.

Columbus Children's Hospital is continually expanding its services to provide for children throughout the central Ohio community. Floor space becomes a valuable resource when trying to adapt clinics to limited, and fixed, facility resources.

Accommodating additional clinics in an already crowded hospital presents a significant challenge to administrators. Industrial engineers at Columbus Children's were able to successfully apply IE tools and methodology to address this challenge. A study was conducted on one floor of the hospital's Outpatient Care Center, where two clinics are currently located.

- Time studies were conducted to determine resource (room, physician, and nurse) utilization.

- Simulation models were constructed to predict outcomes associated with variable patient arrival rates.

- Clinic layouts were designed to promote efficient patient movement, minimize resource travel time, and enhance communication.

As a result of the project, the number of clinic rooms allocated to each clinic was reduced, and a third clinic was added in a space where there were previously two. The collaborative approach to the project was absolutely essential in order to gain buy-in from chief physicians and nursing managers of each clinic involved. Administrators have approved the proposed layout changes, and renovation is scheduled to begin early 2006.