Lean Six Sigma in Healthcare

Healthcare costs are rising at an alarming pace while reimbursement rates have decreased. What can hospitals do to not only survive but thrive in this economic state? Soriant Healthcare utilizes several approaches in helping hospital’s support services reduce expenses while improving quality. One of our strategies is to utilize a Lean Six Sigma process known as a Rapid Improvement Event.

A Kaizen Event or Rapid Improvement (RIE) uses a multi-disciplinary team approach to solve a defined problem in a short period of time.

Some of the benefits of RIE include:

  • Elimination of waste in a process
  • Improved workflow
  • Error proofing
  • Problem solving
  • Improved “standardized work” which enhances quality, efficiency, and safety
  • Visual management
  • Inventory control
  • Meaningful improvements implemented in a short period of time

Rapid Improvement Events follow a four-step process:

4 step process

Map the current State: Step one begins by understanding what is currently happening. A walk-through of the department helps to understand what’s going on. Next, the steps in the process are documented or mapped out in the what is called a Current State Map, playing close attention to the basic flow of process or information.

Identify waste: Once the current state is mapped, step two is to identify waste in the process. Waste is classified in one of three categories: Value-added, non-value added (but necessary), non-value added (waste). The focus is to identify wasteful steps in the process which are not necessary and do not add value. Next, the team works on completely eliminating the unnecessary waste from the current process.

Create the future state. After waste is identified in the current state map, the ideal state map and future state map are developed. The ideal state map is what we envision as the perfect scenario for the process. The future state map is our plan as to what we would like to improve and will achieve within a specified time frame.

Continuous improvement. Rinse and Repeat! After the future state is mapped, and changes are implemented, the final step is to continue to define and refine the process. In other words, go back to step one and repeat. The ultimate purpose of a rapid improvement event is to continue to seek the ideal state without letting perfection get in the way of better today. Rinse and Repeat!

If you are struggling with improving process, quality, or employee engagement which are negatively impacting your bottom line, a Rapid Improvement Event may be just what you need.

About the Author:

Jessica Rodriguez brings more than 14 years of experience in oversight and leadership of customer-facing and administrative support operations in healthcare and scientific research. Jessica offers an effective interpersonal style that actively fosters productive relationships with internal and external partners, representing a wide variety of professional backgrounds.