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by Tim Beissmann

Toyota Australia is using its production line expertise to reduce treatment times for cancer patients at St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne.

A team of Toyota Australia employees is working directly with St Vincent’s to streamline the experience of patients when they attend hospital to receive radiation or chemotherapy.

There are a number of steps and clinical decisions involved in a cancer patient’s treatment visit to hospital – blood tests, waiting for results, receiving chemotherapy and other treatments – and the time between events can easily add up to an hour.

Through reviewing the current system and streamlining the process, Toyota and St Vincent’s aim to reduce the time between events to 20 minutes, meaning shorter hospital stays for patients and more time at home.

“We identified health care as a sector that would be able to benefit from Toyota’s expert knowledge in running efficient production lines,” said Toyota Australia president Dave Buttner.

“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.”

Toyota has already successfully streamlined operations in St Vincent’s pharmaceutical division, where it prepares pre-packaged medication for approximately 1000 patients every week.

Using concepts from the Toyota Production System, the time taken to pack each script from start to finish has been reduced from 210 minutes to 34 minutes.

Toyota will continue to work with St Vincent’s throughout 2015 as part of a $15 million development program that is partly funded by the Federal Government.




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