Hospital treatment times for cancer patients may significantly reduce as a result of a new project between Toyota Australia and St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne.
Using its world renowned production system, Toyota Australia is working with St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne to streamline the patient experience when they attend hospital to receive radiation or chemotherapy.
Typically, there are many steps or clinical decisions involved in a cancer patient's treatment visit to hospital:
undergoing blood tests, waiting for the results, receiving chemotherapy or other treatment. This can add up to an hour between events.
By reviewing the current system and streamlining the process, Toyota Australia and St Vincent's aim to reduce the time between events to just 20 minutes. This means that patients spend less time in the hospital and more time at home with their loved ones.
With so much pressure on hospitals, Toyota Australia President Dave Buttner said it was a natural step for the company to work with St Vincent's Hospital.
"We identified health care as a sector that would be able to benefit from Toyota's expert knowledge in running efficient production lines," Mr Buttner said.
"Through working with St Vincent's Hospital, our goal is to alleviate some of the stresses staff and patients experience with the current system, and allow staff to concentrate on improving their patients' quality of life.
"Our team of experts is working closely with the oncology unit to streamline administrative processes and appointments. Not only will this result in staff doing their jobs more efficiently, but more importantly patients will spend less time at the hospital."
St Vincent's Hospital CEO Ben Fielding said: "St Vincent's is delighted to be working with Toyota."
"In many ways we are a natural fit for Toyota as we have made a real commitment to improving patient care and experience using lean management techniques. They have a lot of knowledge to share," Mr Fielding said.
Mr Buttner said before commencing this project, Toyota Australia worked with the St Vincent's pharmaceutical division to improve the way it prepares pre-packaged medication for approximately 1,000 patients each week.
By applying concepts from the Toyota Production System, the time taken to pack each script from start to finish was drastically reduced from 210 minutes to 34 minutes.
Toyota Australia will continue to work with St Vincent's Hospital until the end of 2015 as part of its $15 million development program that is partly funded by the Federal Government.
The program involves 20 dedicated Toyota employees working with local suppliers and at least one non-automotive entity each year to increase productivity in the workplace.