A recent Modern Healthcare article which discussed the benefits of Lean, noted that if one hospital is facing a problem with quality or safety, chances are pretty good that another probably has the same or similar problem. Makes sense, right?
A group of providers across the country came together and created a network called Catalyst to focus on how to fix problems using Lean management. Their focus was clinical: hospital-acquired infections. A primary objective was reducing the rate of central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI). Unfortunately, the deadly complication still affects more than 30,000 patients a year with a 12% to 25% mortality rate, at a cost to the U.S. healthcare system of more than $1.8 billion since 2001.
MedSpeed has made Lean Six Sigma part of our culture. We see firsthand the benefits of Lean and its goal of providing value to our customers through a process that minimizes waste.
I’ve written before about Lean principles and how they directly impact the healthcare industry at large. Recently, I was honored to have the opportunity to again write about that impact in a guest blog post for Healthcare Finance. That post discusses intersite logistics, or healthcare transportation, which is what MedSpeed does for a living.
At MedSpeed we benefit from Lean Six Sigma (LSS). Lean Management is the ongoing effort to eliminate or reduce ‘waste’ and Six Sigma is a disciplined, data-driven method for eliminating defects in any process.
Early on, we adopted LSS as an integral part of our quality management system because the lean philosophy allows us to maximize customer value while minimizing waste. Implementing LSS means we are able to create more value for customers with fewer resources.
And while the methods of LSS were originally developed within the context of manufacturing, they have been successfully applied to other industries, as we know from personal experience. A study earlier this year conducted by Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, looked at whether wait times in hospital emergency rooms/departments could be cut if hospitals utilized Lean Management and Six Sigma techniques.