Part of Johns Hopkins Medicine, the Maryland-based academic health system that serves 95,000 patients annually, the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center (SKCCC) is an NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center that comprises 195 chairs across five centers, and is dedicated to both integrated research and comprehensive care delivery. In 2020, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center performed approximately 48,000 treatments across locations throughout the Baltimore and Washington DC metro areas.
The centers at Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center were each experiencing unique operational challenges. Center #1, a setting dedicated to solid tumors, had excessively long patient wait times midday – 63 minutes on average. Center #2, dedicated to liquid tumors, ran out of chair space for patients 37% of the days it was in operation. Finally, the schedule at Center #3, a community setting, was so backed up that it closed two or more hours past the scheduled time 69% of days. Further, multiple centers spent entire days creating nurse assignments on paper.
As cancer patients value their personal time, and infusion providers wish to build worthwhile relationships with their patients, the problems at Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center went beyond inconveniences and became major dissatisfiers for all involved – the patients, the providers who oversaw their chemotherapy, and the staff who delivered it.
Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center initially deployed iQueue for Infusion Centers in 2017 at the three sites mentioned previously to address issues by level-loading infusion schedules to expand throughout non-peak times, including scheduling shorter appointments earlier in the day per patient preference, and thus freeing chairs throughout the day. This led to decreased drug and patient wait times, along with the number of days operating past scheduled closing time, and in turn improved patient experience. Based on the initial success, iQueue was then deployed to the remaining sites across Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. Additional process improvements, such as faster, analytics-supported nurse allocation and a program that allowed for pre-mixing drugs for two-thirds of patients, supported the better operational results Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center achieved with iQueue.