LEAN SIX SIGMA SIMPLIFIED
Updated: Feb 18
Lean Six Sigma is a philosophy that uses fact-based, data-driven methodologies to improve processes. It improves customer satisfaction and increases revenue by reducing variation, waste and turn-around time. Lean focuses on reducing or eliminating waste or non-value added activities and promotes the use of work standardization and flow. It can be implemented anywhere variation and waste exist. Six Sigma primarily focuses on reducing process variation and enhancing process control.
Lean six sigma methodologies combine the fundamental Six Sigma strategies with Lean strategies to develop a system capable of helping all aspects of a business run more effectively without sacrificing quality and profitability. Successful lean six sigma implementation is an all-in process and requires participation of every employee, starting with top management. It helps to start with small, short-term changes that are likely to yield quick, measurable results. Seeing results within a few days or one week provides visual evidence of the benefits of applying lean principles and encourages employee participation and management support. Starting with a complicated, long, drawn-out project often discourages management and participants if they fail to see any immediate benefits.
“Successful lean six sigma implementation is an all-in process and requires participation of every employee, starting with top management. It helps to start with small, short-term changes that are likely to yield quick, measurable results.”
Healthcare is evolving and is becoming even more competitive than ever before. Consumers are also becoming more involved in making their own healthcare decisions. As a result, there is a remarkable shift towards improving patient experience as opposed to relying on just expertise and “big name” reputation. Every year many healthcare organizations allot big budgets towards improving patient experience. Lean principles have proved to be the way to go to eliminate steps that create bottle necks in process workflow, optimize the necessary steps, reduce turn around time and maintain service quality.
Think your practice or organization doesn’t need Lean Six Sigma? You’ll never know how much revenue you are losing or how much additional revenue you have been leaving on the table by not adopting Lean principles. My take is that every healthcare organization needs to go lean. Continued rising cost of healthcare and shrinking reimbursements demand that every healthcare organization develops a strategy to streamline and optimize their processes, reduce costs in the right areas and increase revenue while maintaining high quality and patient satisfaction scores.