Lean 6 Sigma best practices are becoming increasingly more important as companies prove its efficacy by improving profitability and efficiency. This process was developed when Bob Galvin was the CEO of Motorola in 1986. After Motorola shared its methodology, companies such as General Electric, Ford and Microsoft also adopted the best practices and improved business processes.
These companies sent leaders to Six Sigma training to learn methodology to improve business processes. They trained several leaders to earn their Lean 6 Sigma certification and become Lean Six Sigma black belt certified, Lean 6 Sigma green belt certified and Lean 6 Sigma yellow belt certified. Without certification, leaders cannot possibly implement Lean 6 Sigma processes fully.
Case studies are helpful for learning more about Six Sigma processes and how the best practices are used in an actual environment. Healthcare is a major initiative in the United States. Many executives are interested to learn how Lean 6 Sigma and healthcare put together can be very beneficial and make hospitals more efficient.
Case Studies for Improving Patient Wait Times and Reducing Payroll Costs with Same-day Surgery Staff
The Same-Day Surgery staff needed a way to process patient information for this 230-bed for-profit hospital. The hospital suffered high patient wait times because patients’ medical histories were missing or not filed correctly. Patient information needed better organization, and it needed to be filed in an organized manner. Because of the inefficiencies in this 230-bed hospital, there were numerous delays and cancellations.
Lean 6 Sigma tools were used to create an effective solution. Value-stream mapping was used to identify where the patient information may have originated. This same tool will map the paths taken by documentation through the hospital and how the information was used at each juncture.
After the mapping process was complete, the Lean six sigma team recognized a need for standardization in distribution, reviewing and collecting. There was no standard for pre-admission testing and no central repository for patients’ pre-surgery data. This was a problem for hospital staff trying to serve their patients efficiently.
To correct this problem, standard processes were developed for better information flow. Patient charts were integrated with the existing patient software. The team also established gates or mistake-proofing to improve the processes and reduce patient wait times.
Almost immediately, the hospital experienced a 57 percent reduction in patient wait times. A $75,000 annual savings in payroll costs was also realized. This reduction was possible after reducing the time staff spent searching for information.
The process also eliminated loose sheets of patient information. This improved documentation accuracy and also increased physician satisfaction. The hospital was able to serve an additional eight to 10 patients per day after Six Sigma processes were implemented.
Effective ways for Lean 6 Sigma and Healthcare
Healthcare Lean 6 Sigma can be effective in numerous healthcare settings. Hospitals should consider the best practices and determine how processes can be improved. Until the United States is the best healthcare in the world, there is still room for improvement. Lean 6 Sigma methodologies are useful in numerous industries.