Article Text

Download PDFPDF

Managing waiting times in diagnostic medical imaging
  1. Sabina Nuti,
  2. Milena Vainieri
  1. Laboratorio Management e Sanità, Institute of Management, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Pisa, Italy
  1. Correspondence to Dr Milena Vainieri; m.vainieri{at}sssup.it

Abstract

Objective This paper aims to analyse the variation in the delivery of diagnostic imaging services in order to suggest possible solutions for the reduction of waiting times, increase the quality of services and reduce financial costs.

Design This study provides a logic model to manage waiting times in a regional context. Waiting times measured per day were compared on the basis of the variability in the use rates of CT and MRI examinations in Tuscany for the population, as well as on the basis of the capacity offered with respect to the number of radiologists available. The analysis was performed at the local health authority level to support the decision-making process of local managers.

Setting Diagnostic imaging services, in particular the CT and MRI examinations. The study involved all the 12 local health authorities that provide services for 3.7 million inhabitants of the Italian Tuscany Region.

Primary and secondary outcome measures Participants: the study uses regional administrative data on outpatients and survey data on inpatient diagnostic examinations in order to measure productivity.

Primary and secondary outcome measures The study uses the volumes per 1000 inhabitants, the days of waiting times and the number of examinations per radiologist. Variability was measured using the traditional SD measures.

Results A significant variation in areas considered homogeneous in terms of age, gender or mortality may indicate that the use of radiological services is not optimal and underuse or overuse occurs and that there is room for improvement in the service organisation.

Conclusions Considering that there is a high level of variability among district use rates and waiting times, this study provides managers with a specific tool to find the cause of the problem, identify a possible solution, assess the financial impact and initiate the eventual reduction of waste.

  • Health Services Administration & Management

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non commercial and is otherwise in compliance with the license. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/ and http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/legalcode.

View Full Text

Statistics from Altmetric.com

Supplementary materials

  • Supplementary Data

    This web only file has been produced by the BMJ Publishing Group from an electronic file supplied by the author(s) and has not been edited for content.

    Files in this Data Supplement:

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.