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K6 Understanding the HD care pathway from an operations management perspective
  1. Sara Minster1,
  2. Sharon Williams2
  1. 1Cardiff University, Brain Repair Group, School of Biosciences, Cardiff, UK
  2. 2Swansea University, Singleton Park, Swansea, UK


Background Operations management and quality improvement are disciplines long associated with manufacturing, but recently we have seen a divergence to exploring how these approaches might be used to improve healthcare services (e.g. 1, 2013).

Aim The aim of this research is to explore how quality improvement techniques can help to visualise and improve the Huntington’s disease care pathway.

Methods/techniques A combination of mapping techniques has been employed to visualise the HD patient pathway from the point of referral to the management of care in the community. These maps were constructed from 20 experienced-based interviews conducted with HD patients, their relatives and multi-professionals working as members of integrated care teams.

Results/outcomes From an analysis of the semi-structured interviews a high level process map has been constructed of a HD care pathway. The map includes information, patient and emotional flows. A thematic analysis of the interview data identified how multi-professional care teams play a critical role in spanning organisational boundaries and integrating services to ensure a seamless trajectory of care for their patients. There are points in the care pathway that go beyond the recent rhetoric of patient-centeredness and extend to what participants described as being family-centeredness care.

Conclusion This research visualises the HD patient pathway from a QI/OM perspective. It details the information, emotional and patient flows and goes beyond the patient-centred discussion prominent in healthcare. Further research is needed to consider all models of care available for HD patients; this study has focused on services delivered by integrated teams.


  1. Burgess N, Radnor, Z. Evaluating Lean in Healthcare. Inter J Health Care Quality Assurance 2013;26(3):220–235

  • Care Pathways
  • Mapping

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