Lean Six Sigma Approach

Soriant Healthcare uses a variety of approaches to help hospitals and health systems meet their needs. Our team works hand in hand to reduce costs and improve quality in support service areas. This is a time-consuming task to complete in addition to your regular daily operations.  We have developed a detailed process to “take on the heavy lifting” to ensure your company’s success.

A vital component in our strategy is the Lean Six Sigma approach.

What is the Lean Six Sigma Approach?

Lean is the name we give the philosophies, tools, and systems originally developed by Toyota to build highly reliable and consistent cars.  Lean isn’t just for cars, though.  It’s been adopted by thousands of companies worldwide and is a proven catalyst for improving quality, reducing costs, and boosting employee morale.  It’s sister discipline, Six Sigma, developed at Motorola in the 1980s and popularized at General Electric in the 1990s, leverages statistical tools to understand and improve business processes.  Together, Lean and Six Sigma (typically called “Lean Six Sigma”) have proven to be a powerful driving force for improvement in healthcare.

In his book “Lean Hospitals,” author Mark Graban quotes a senior leader at a prestigious university hospital as lamenting, “we have world-class doctors, world-class treatment, and completely broken processes.”  That senior leader is not alone.  Hospital leaders across America struggle every day with operational challenges like adjusting staffing to varying volumes, finding equipment and supplies when needed, and even starting surgical cases on time.  Moreover, hospital administrators are challenged to improve both employee engagement and patient satisfaction in this very challenging environment.  Practically none of those challenges are caused by bad or uncaring people, though.  Instead, the root cause is almost always ineffective or wasteful processes that sap employee energy and deliver sub-par experiences for patients.  Lean Six Sigma can change that.

Five simple steps lay out a data-driven process toward six standard deviations between the average and closest specification limit in any process.

By focusing on these five steps, Soriant Healthcare can dig deep into your operations, discovering strengths and weaknesses. Our healthcare experts assess improvement opportunities, resulting in 8-12% savings, in hospitals and health care organizations nationwide.

Step 1: Define

The first step in improving a business process is by defining the current problem. Soriant Healthcare will meet with you and discuss your organization’s situation until we are able to recognize and define the current issue.

Step 2: Measure

After addressing a main problem, Soriant Healthcare will help you map out and assess your organization’s current state and its end goal. We will determine which KPIs will be used to measure your organization’s success and explain how your hospital should collect and use this data.

Step 3: Analyze

Next, Soriant Healthcare will perform a detailed company analysis to find the root cause of your company’s defined problem. We will look for gaps in your Support Services Departments and other parts of your organization to find room for improvement.

Step 4: Improve/Implement

By working together as a team, we can then determine and implement a long-lasting solution. Soriant Healthcare can identify improvement opportunities, so your company can meet its long-term goals.

Step 5: Control

The final step of the Lean Six Sigma process is to monitor and maintain the new solution. This may include using new tools or programs to sustain the process, standardizing these tools across all departments, as well as promoting an increased adoption of the process over time.

As simple as it may sound, one of the most powerful and important Lean concepts is: Respect for People.  At Soriant, we firmly believe that people like working with kind, caring, and competent people.  That’s why our Consultants are trained in Lean and take the time to listen to the people who do the work.  No one knows the real way your hospital runs better than your employees.  And while we’d like to say we have all the answers, the reality is your employees often already know how to fix many of your biggest problems.  They’re just not engaged enough to tell you.  At Soriant, we use a Lean Six Sigma process known as a Rapid Improvement Event (RIE) to reengage staff and develop solutions that unlock the power and creativity of your workforce.  We spend time in the “gemba,” the place where work is done, and involve those who do the work in designing, testing, and implementing solutions in a rapid, iterative learning environment.  You might be surprised; a day on the work floor might provide more fresh ideas than ten days in a conference room.

If you want to learn more about how Soriant uses Lean Six Sigma in its engagements, please contact us.  We’re excited to help you discover the innovativeness of your employees and reach your organization’s potential.

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