Techniques from the auto industry are giving stroke patients at Barnes-Jewish Hospital a chance at better outcomes. The sooner stroke patients get the clot-busting drug tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), the better their chance of survival and a fuller recovery.
In 2010, the median time for stroke patients to receive tPA was 55 to 60 minutes from arrival in the Barnes- Jewish emergency department—one of the fastest times in the United States. But the emergency department team wanted to make that even faster.
By applying Lean principles, first developed by Japanese car manufacturers to maximize value to customers and reduce waste, the team worked to revamp the stroke treatment process.
As a result of the more streamlined process, the emergency department stroke team has sustained a median door-to-needle time for patients to receive tPA of about 39 minutes. The goal is to reduce that time even further.