(HealthDay News) – Quality improvement methods and tools can improve the timeliness of pediatric endoscopic procedures, according to research published online Jan. 20 in Pediatrics.

Gitit Tomer, MD, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, NY, and colleagues formed a quality improvement initiative at Children’s Hospital at Montefiore to improve the efficiency of the pediatric endoscopy unit. Causes for case delays related to equipment, patients, and physicians were identified, and quality improvement tools, including Pareto charts, cause and effect diagrams, process flow mapping, and statistical process control charts, were used for analysis.

The researchers observed significant reductions in average delays for endoscopies for the first case (17–10 minutes), the second case (39–25 minutes), the third case (61–45 minutes), and the fourth case (79–51 minutes). There was a significant decrease of 65 minutes in the total delay time. The average percentage of first endoscopy cases starting within five minutes of the scheduled time increased from 36–47%(P=0.07); starting within 10 minutes, from 51–61%(P=0.04); and starting within 15 minutes, from 61–79%(P=0.01).

“Applying quality improvement methods and tools helped improve pediatric endoscopy timeliness and significantly decreased total delays,” the authors write.

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