Swim lane Process maps are very similar to flow charts except they very explicitly show the organization structure. They differ only because they arrange the map on a
table where the rows indicate the “who” does the process step. Where the “who” can be specified as an individual, a department, or an organization. The advantage of this mapping approach is that process flows
that change “lanes” indicate hand-offs.
This is where lack of coordination and communication can cause process problems. It also shows who sees each part of the process. Clear distinctions can be made between the back-office and those process steps where patient interactions occur. It also can show that some healthcare processes may only be seen in their entirety by the patient.
The swim lane process map example below shows a portion of the process of a lumpectomy that my wife, Susan, experienced in 2001.
She detected two errors in the process. Error #1 occurred when the surgeon intended to employ a needle locator to identify the location of the tumor, but failed to forward an order to that effect to the hospital. Susan identified the omission prior to surgery. No harm occurred. Error #2 was a typographic error on the pathology report indicating that the tumor was 1.6
mm diameter, when in fact it was 1.6 cm. A phone call to confirm the correction avoided any harm.