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Operational Excellence for Small Businesses: Part II

Patient Discharge in Hospital.

Health care providers, like any other service industry, face many challenges, such as reducing costs and keeping abreast of technological changes while meeting regulatory guidelines, exacerbated by the problem of a sparse qualified labor force. The patient discharge process at a hospital in Amman, Jordan, had the objective of minimizing the discharge time without significantly increasing costs.

They used Lean Six Sigma and a simulation model as the basic tools in die framework.

The purpose was to minimize the percentage of insured patients whose discharge time from the hospital is longer than 50 minutes without increasing costs. The hospital management chose the 5o minutes target through a time and motion study and by benchmarking with other hospitals. The aim was to enhance customer satisfaction, increasing the number of admissions and turnovers of the rooms, and increasing the hospital’s profitability.

Upon applying these methodologies in the hospital in the pediatrics department, the percentage of insured pediatrics patients with discharge time dropped from almost 60 min to 46 min (23% improvement), and an increase in profit of $55,860 during the 6 months after the change was made, this is $111,720 annually.


El-Banna, M. (2013) “Patient discharge time improvement by using the six sigma approach: A case study,” Quality Engineering, 25(4), pp. 401–417. Available at:

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