Process Mapping - An Overview
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Process Mapping - An Overview
What is it and how can it help me? A map of a patient journey is a visual representation - a picture or model - of the relevant procedures and administrative processes. The map shows how things are and what happens, rather than what should happen. This helps anyone involved see other people's views and roles. It can also help you to diagnose problems and identify areas for improvement. There are different approaches to mapping patient journeys, procedures and administrative processes in healthcare services. Which one you select will depend upon: What you need to know Resources and timescales Engagement and interest of staff Each one gives you a slightly different perspective and there is no definitive right or wrong. The key is to reflect how things are - and not how they should be. Examples of process mapping techniques: A guide to mapping patient journeys - process mapping; a conventional model Process mapping - alternatives ways to conventional process mapping Process templates Walkthrough a patient journey Spaghetti diagram Value added steps A picture of time and resources (process templates) required by a single patient Reviewing the patient pathway; mapping your last ten patients - using patient files and records Getting patient perspectives Care pathway analysis When does it work best? Mapping patient journeys is an essential tool to reduce delays and highlight improvements for patients and staff. Each approach reveals a different perspective. All approaches will reveal: Unnecessary delays Unnecessary steps / unnecessary handovers Duplication of effort / waste Things that don't make sense / not logical Likely hotspots, bottlenecks or constraints Depending upon which approach you use, you will be able to: Identify bottlenecks and constraints Identify and understand variations in clinical practice Develop a shared understanding of the problem Build teams
Identify issues to do with quality of care Gain an in-depth understanding of a patient's perspective Identify steps that don't directly contribute to patient care (those that contribute are sometimes called value added steps) Carry out capacity and demand analysis from core information Mapping things out can also produce brilliant ideas; especially from staff who don't normally have the opportunity to contribute to service improvement, but really know how things work. How to use it You don't need to map everything: concentrate on the area where there is a gap in your understanding, or which needs improvement. Ideally, you will know where the bottleneck is before you go into more detailed mapping as the information you need should be slightly different. The information and level of detail you need depends upon your starting point. Consider the views and perspectives of the people you want to work with to identify the problems and solutions. Where do I start? What do you need to know? How simple can you go? Are you working at a high level along the whole pathway or focusing in more detail? Whose views do you need? What is the best way to engage them? Do you need to meet with / engage people in advance? How could you capture the patient's view (if the mapping exercise includes part of the service they experience)? Wherever possible, use photographs and pictures of places, staff and equipment in mapping exercises. This brings your representation of ‘how things are' to life. Guide to Conventional Process Mapping Potential impact (on patient journeys) This is often used across teams and Reduces unnecessary delays, time lost due organisations (see mapping the whole patient to duplication and work that doesn't make journey across teams and organisations) to sense, right support for constraints. learn about this mapping technique). Strengths Outcome A range of staff's knowledge about their work Different perspectives. (what happens and when it happens) mapped...