Lean Six Sigma holds a primary focus on delivering quality care to the patients and reducing costs by eventually improving the underlying processes for any healthcare provider. Implementing Six Sigma management tools help in eliminating variations and defects in the medical processes and workflow, thereby, making the procedures more streamlined and less expensive.
A defect in the healthcare industry can be defined as anything which leads to patient dissatisfaction. It could even be that fine line between life and death. For example, incorrect treatment and diagnosis, long waiting hours to see the doctor etc.
Lean Six Sigma channelizes the medical procedures to eliminate these defects and other life-threatening errors. In the medical industry, patient care is something which is purely hands-on. So, the possibility for variation is much larger than the other process-driven industries. The main reason is that the variables are very small which makes them difficult to quantify.
How Six Sigma makes healthcare better?
Lean Six Sigma’s data-driven approach actually turns all the variables into measurable parameters which help in delivering the desired results. The primary goal of any Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certified professional is to deliver incredible services to the patients and their families by using a series of five steps that are as listed below:
It involves defining the identity of the analyst as well as the patient to their exact requirements. All the objectives of the processes should be clearly defined and underlined.
All the improvements related to the healthcare practices need to be measured and tracked. This data-driven approach helps in measuring and defining the performance parameters of the hospital such as service cost, patient satisfaction, clinical excellence etc.
Here appropriate Six Sigma tools are used to collect and analyze accurate data for improved efficiency.
Depending upon the analysis, several changes and modifications are implemented which are essential to bring improvements in patient care approach.
All the medical care processes are monitored and tracked properly so as to maintain a sturdy level of growth as well improvement in patient care.
Consequences of using Six Sigma (Examples)
Using Lean Six Sigma approach to improve patient care and healthcare business has several consequences including:
- Reduced/ eliminated manual errors caused by nurses, technicians and doctors
- Improved turnaround time of the diagnostic departments and labs
- Reduction in the total number of steps for quick services in supply chain management
- Reduced waiting time for seeking a doctor’s appointment
- Significant reduction in time that is taken for the reimbursement of the medical claims
- Boosted patient satisfaction levels
Lean Six Sigma Approach has made the information access much easier for the patients. The experts would agree that all this is directly proportional to the brand reputation of the healthcare provider. Patient reviews and feedback will eventually make or break the brand value of any healthcare organization or hospital.
Lean Six Sigma is Patient-Centered
The competition for sustenance and the fluctuating economy has encouraged many hospitals and healthcare providers to have a deeper insight into their processes. The existing processes are quite inefficient and wasteful, which results in temporary fixing of issues based on irrational assumptions.
No facts or data are included. This further escalates the problem and gives rise to many small but undeniable tribulations.
Lean Six Sigma methodologies are purely based on facts and figures. An action plan is devised and implemented to meet the desired goals such as delivering great patient care and services, reducing errors and cultivating a great “Carey” culture.
This vision is essentially the crust of Lean Six Sigma approach. Any tool or strategy used by Lean Six Sigma Green Belt professional is driven towards a common goal of patient satisfaction.
The Benefits of Six Sigma in Healthcare
For any healthcare organization, it is important to understand the needs and requirements of the patients. By implementing Six Sigma protocols, the healthcare providers can significantly improve their direct patient care, healthcare management and operations which ultimately help in cost reduction and quality improvement.