A case of an intervention in an outpatients department
Lehaney, B.; Clarke, S. A.; Paul, R. J.
The Journal of the Operational Research Society
Lehaney, B. C., S. A.; Paul, R. J. (1999). A Case of an Intervention in an Outpatients Department. [Journal Article; Methodological Paper]. The Journal of the Operational Research Society, 50(9), 877-891.
This paper is an account of a case intervention, undertaken at a National Health Service hospital outpatients department. The intervention utilised a soft systems approach, to address gaps between the customers' and providers' expectations, and simulation was used within this framework. A procedure to reduce unexpected non-attendance of patients has been implemented. Patient bookings are now scheduled according to simple rules, with the result that in-clinic waiting times have been reduced. A model of the intervention process has been accepted by the key stakeholders as a sensible framework for continuing investigations. More widely, the participants increased their knowledge of their own systems. The results from the case suggest that the time spent following this approach may be worthwhile in some interventions, but there are concerns relating to the time needed, and the cost of such an approach. The paper provides a critique of the framework and the intervention, and concludes that this approach is probably viable in unpaid, collaborative, investigations where there is little or no cost. However, time and cost may prove prohibitive in the case of paid consultancy.