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Reduced isolation room turnover time using Lean methodology

  • Andrea L. Ankrum (a1), Smriti Neogi (a2), Molynda A. Morckel (a2), Adam W. Wilhite (a3), Zhaoyan Li (a3) and Joshua K. Schaffzin (a1) (a4) (a5)...



To prevent environmental transmission of pathogens, hospital rooms housing patients on transmission-based precautions are cleaned extensively and disinfected with ultraviolet (UV) light. To do so consistently requires time and coordination, and these procedures must avoid patient flow delays and associated safety risks. We sought to improve room turnover efficiency to allow for UV disinfection.


A 60-day quality improvement and implementation project.


A quaternary academic pediatric referral facility.


A multidisciplinary healthcare team participated in a 60-day before-and-after trial that followed the Toyota Production System Lean methodology. We used value-stream mapping and manual time studies to identify areas for improvement. Areas addressed included room breakdown, room cleaning, and wait time between cleaning and disinfection. Room turnover was measured as the time in minutes from a discharged patient exiting an isolation room to UV disinfection completion. Impact was measured using postintervention manual time studies.


Median room turnover decreased from 130 minutes (range, 93–294 minutes) to 65 minutes (range, 48–95 minutes; P < .0001). Other outcomes included decreased median time between room breakdown to cleaning start time (from 10 to 3 minutes; P = .004), room cleaning complete to UV disinfection start (from 36 to 8 minutes; P < .0001), and the duration of room cleaning and curtain changing (from 57 to 37 minutes; P < .0001).


We decreased room turnover time by half in 60 days by decreasing times between and during routine tasks. Utilizing Lean methodology and manual time study can help teams understand and improve hospital processes and systems.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Andrea Ankrum, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, 3333 Burnet Avenue, MLC 5019, Cincinnati, OH 45229. Email:


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