Lean 6 Sigma is a set of principles used to improve business practices to reduce the number of defects or undesirable events within an organization. Undesirable events lead to poor customer service and smaller profits. Companies that want to retain customers, possess a competitive advantage, and remain profitable will implement Lean Six Sigma principles in an effort to maintain a certain standard.
All types of businesses can benefit from Lean Six Sigma principles. The concept was originally developed under the leadership of Bob Galvin at Motorola. Since this time, major companies, such as General Electric, have utilized the principles of Six Sigma to improve their organizations.
Lean 6 Sigma and healthcare has many implications. The healthcare system is one industry that has benefited from the principles. With more efficient business practices, organizations can become more profitable. A closer examination of a case study will illuminate how companies have used Lean Six Sigma principles to improve business practices.
Lean 6 Sigma Case Study of a Not-For-Profit Major Medical Center
This hospital wanted to reduce the setup between surgical cases and changeover in the inpatient surgery department. Staff noticed that patient care could be improved by increasing the overall efficiency. An efficient operating room (O.R.) would improve patient care, O.R. capacity and physician satisfaction.
The Lean 6 Sigma leader conducted an analysis of the current practices within the O.R. The analysis revealed areas of waste. Waste is known as MUDA. MUDA limited the hospital’s ability to be responsive to the patient’s and physician’s needs. Spaghetti diagrams, process maps and observation forms are included in the single minute exchange of dies (SMED) process and can help to improve efficiency through analysis.
To alleviate some of the problems in the O.R., visual indicators or Color Coding was used to clarify the process. The new business practices and the standardization of changeover processes helped to improve processes. Employees were trained and teams were developed to accomplish this goal according to the guidelines.
With training, the O.R. staff reduced the time spent managing the turnover process by 46 percent. The organization also became 60 percent more efficient within the team. Efficiency is the goal of any company attempting to implement lean Six Sigma best practices. Lean 6 Sigma best practices can be used in a variety of settings. From software to healthcare, organizations can benefit from Lean 6 Sigma methodologies. This case study demonstrates how Lean 6 Sigma can be beneficial even in a clinical setting.
Lean 6 Sigma is Beneficial in Healthcare
Lean 6 Sigma best practices can be used in a variety of settings. Lean 6 Sigma was not traditionally used in healthcare, but the principles translate effectively into clinical settings. Healthcare professionals have more job satisfaction because patients are served more proficiently and the payment cycles are shorter. Lean 6 Sigma can be used in an assortment of situations successfully.