Uncovering the Patient Pathway through Process Mapping

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In answer to Department of Health directives to create an improved; patient-led NHS*; consulting firm Catalyze Ltd is leading a number of Process Mapping projects and workshops to ‘Map the patients journey’ and uncover efficiency gains, service improvements and a better understanding of care for long-term diseases.

Conducted in association with the Royal College of Nursing and the James Parkinson Centre; the Catalyze-Led ‘Mapping the patients’ journey’ project has been completed and published. This Process Mapping study, aimed at supporting people living with Parkinson’s disease, forms part of a greater understanding of the patient pathway through the NHS; together with on-going Catalyze-led projects concerned with other long-term medical conditions.

It is estimated that 30% of the UK population is living with a long term medical condition. With an ageing population and increasing incidence of long-term medical conditions it is vital to uncover how patient needs can be better served in the future, with Process Mapping techniques utilised to catalogue an accurate picture of the ‘patients journey’, allowing service improvements and efficiency gains to be identified.

“With the shift in focus to a patient-led health service, understanding the processes from both a patient and the professionals perspective helps everyone appreciate the challenges we have,” said Catalyze Director of Consulting Ivan Lax. “By extending the scope of our work into other areas such as Rheumatoid Arthritis with the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society we can also see common challenges arising and start to realise the value of shared learning”.

The conclusions from the Parkinson’s disease study are now available to read online on the Catalyze website http://www.catalyze.co.uk/patients_journey.pdf. The findings will also be the subject of a ‘Mapping the patients’ journey’ presentation at the ‘Managing Long Term Conditions 2006’ conference in London on April 5th 2006 (11.15am). The session will take place at the Hilton London Metropole Hotel; presenting the results and demonstrating how similar Process Mapping projects can be used in other areas of care to uncover cost effective service improvements.

Catalyze will also be running a series of Process Mapping education workshops throughout 2006 and 2007, aimed at Healthcare professionals who want to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge of process to run similar projects within their own areas of the NHS. [END] *As outlined in the 2004 NHS Improvement Plan and 2005 Creating a Patient - led NHS

About Process Mapping

Process Mapping is a proven approach that helps organisations to increase efficiency by identifying areas of sub-optimal performance across departments and services or processes that interact with patients and other services or organisations. Process Mapping allows teams to identify best value options, while developing best practise and meeting targets.

Process Mapping within the NHS enables teams to:

  •     identify areas where processes can be improved
  •     measure changes to demonstrate improvement
  •     set realistic targets for improvement
  •     analyse existing processes along with carers and patients
  •     meet targets within Service Improvement Guides
  •     test changes before implementation
  •     assess the impact that changes could have elsewhere
  •     only implement changes that will make auditable, sustainable improvements
  •     offer help, advice and support to others in order to share vital improvement knowledge

About Mapping the Patients Journey – Parkinson’s Disease

This project was initially developed to gain insight into the processes that supported the patient pathway through Parkinson’s disease (from a patient perspective). There was a need to understand the high-level processes that support the patient journey through the four stages of the disease: Diagnosis, Maintenance, Complex and Palliative Care; how these processes interacted, areas of concern and where improvements could be made. As the work has progressed a number of specific disciplines and the processes that support them have been studied at the next level of detail and a number of process maps produced. The result has been that a number of focused improvements have been made that directly address patient needs, and further efforts can be better targeted and planned.

About Catalyze

Catalyze Ltd (http://www.catalyze.co.uk) provides a range of consultancy services, education programmes, software products (Hiview & Equity) and software development in the fields of process consulting and decision analysis. Our association with the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) through activities such as research project funding, discovery initiatives, knowledge transfer and practical sponsorships, places Catalyze at the leading-edge of process consulting and the social sciences. The MoD, Royal Navy, DTI, The Environment Agency, NHS and several UK local authorities are among those organisations already benefiting from our socio-economic approach and robust techniques recommended by the ODPM (UK) & HM Treasury (UK).

Further Contact, quotes, Interview requests & additional imagery

Neil Armstrong neilarmstrong@catalyze.co.uk +44 (0) 1202 736767


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Neil Armstrong