The healthcare industry suffers from its own malaise; it incurs losses of more than $2.4 million a year due to medical errors, and another $17 billion from excess charges per year. This is one industry that could really benefit from using Lean Six Sigma tools. Many healthcare companies have already benefited by using Lean Six Sigma.
Which tools would benefit healthcare? We’ve listed a few here:
Value Stream Mapping: This is a staple in Lean Six Sigma, simply because it is so detailed that it can identify waste, reduce process cycle time, and implement much needed process improvement. Visualization of processes is easy with the Value Stream Mapping tool. Step-by-step visualization of the processes make it easy to spot waste; this alone can save in production costs.
Voice of Customer (VOC): Anytime a company in the healthcare industry uses Lean Six Sigma tools, the first one that gives immediate improvement is VOC. At the Cigna Corporation, Six Sigma has been fully implemented and has been a success! The main focus is on VOC, so basically the customer is number one. This makes total sense especially in the healthcare industry since you’re dealing with health, which is a precious commodity.
Six Sigma methodologies in the triage process can make the waiting room “wait” more streamlined. If the patient feels like they are being cared for in a timely manner, this sets everyone up for success. All it would take would be to create a performance baseline, using Six Sigma methodologies as well as Lean Six Sigma tools so that waiting time and delays could be measured and then analyzed. The root cause of excess wait at an urgent care facility would be found by following Six Sigma methodologies.
A small improvement in waiting time could save a significant amount of revenue and increase patient satisfaction and wellness. The cost of wellness shouldn’t make a person feel sick.
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