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New approach to patient pathways promoted by NHS

21 June 2007

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A new patient pathway technique is being promoted across the NHS as a possible new way of achieving dramatic and rapid cost savings and service improvements.

Originally developed by Toyota, the Rapid Improvement Event (RIE), originally used in commercial settings, has been adapted for use in the NHS.

Sophia Christie, the Birmingham East and North PCT chief executive, whose organisation benefited from an RIE, said:

“The teams have managed to do things in the last few days that they’ve been struggling to find time or space to do in the last two years, so it’s been really effective.”

Teams who work across a specific patient pathway are brought together for four days to identify where improvements can be made at every stage in the pathway. Changes are also made to the pathway during the event itself.

Dr Hunaid Rashiq, a Birmingham GP who was involved in the RIE, commented: “The event brought together all involved in a patient pathway – community nurses, GPs, A&E staff – allowing each individual to talk about what works and what could work better. Patient representatives also came along to share their views.

“The RIE has helped establish relationships that weren’t there before and has also encouraged staff to think about the process in a different way beyond their own day-to-day responsibilities.”

The RIE technique was developed by the NHS Institute as part of their Care Outside Hospital Priority Programme.