Hospitals are probably one of the busiest places you can get yourself into and healthcare institutions are aware on how this impacts their business operations. The bigger problem lies on how this can also lead to poor customer satisfaction and revenue generation.
Lean Six Sigma in Healthcare
Most people know that waiting is already a common process in hospitals. But healthcare organizations are beginning to see the importance of customers in a service industry and so they’ve come up with solutions to address this. The answer? Lean Six sigma.
Lean Six sigma understands this and knows how crucial this aspect is on a business setting. As a result, implementers came up with a way to use a methodology and reduce irregularities that hampers corporate growth. This is what is focused on Lean Six sigma methodologies.
How does Lean Six sigma help reduce patient waiting time?
Lean Six Sigma Malaysia uses the DMAIC process. In general, this methodology was made based on the concept of eliminating eight wastes in an enterprise environment and the implementation of six sigma projects using the DMAIC toolkit. DMAIC stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control.
The hospital is a hub of many activities done at the same time. For each process, it’s important to identify how much time a patient spends in waiting for the first step to finish before moving on to the next step. The hospital may focus on one specific hospital activity like laboratory testing. In this way, it would be easier to define the problem, determine what’s missing and identify what specific process needs improvement and efficiency.
The only thing necessary for the patient to complete is testing. It’s called the true value added step. So it’s no longer necessary to measure how much time the customer spent from the doctor, then to the nursing personnel and afterwards to the laboratory staff. The only value added time started when the specimens were already collected from the patient. So any other activity before that is considered a waste.
In the analysis part, several questions need to be addressed with the main question on why patients need to wait long. It’s in this part where issues are determined such as the distance of the stat specimens to the hospital’s main laboratory, miscellaneous tasks, incorrect order submission, unnecessary activities during critical business hours and the proper utilization of tools and workstations to accommodate all the needs of the patients during these critical hours.
Lean Six Sigma in Healthcare
After analysis, improvement takes place. It may be that distance from walking stat to the main hospital laboratory is reduced or totally eliminated where the walking stat would need not to be taken to the main laboratory anymore. To address miscellaneous activities, these would be made later during the day where critical business hours is at its lowest. To avoid incorrect orders, the staff must review first the laboratory orders with the nursing personnel before they proceed with testing. In order to address issues in the workforce, schedules were properly plotted and rearranged based on requests. In this case, creative scheduling is done to avoid staff shortage and maximize the available tools based on how many of the staff is available.
To make sure that these improvements will take place, routine reports must be done for monitoring. This is where the control phase takes over. The administration must know when these are needed to conduct an assessment on both pre and post implementation measures done.
The Lean Six Sigma Malaysia methodologies applied in a hospital setting would simply improve how the processes work in order to reduce time. Usually, there is a change of initiatives were these follow simple yet clear methods of implementation to reduce defects in the organization. There’s one key area highlighted and that’s the customer facing aspect of the business.
When a Lean six sigma in healthcare trainings are provided, these issues are addressed one by one. It sends a clear message of setting apart true valued steps from the wastes in order to work out on any issues of delay.
For a management staff to get a Lean six sigma certification Malaysia, this will provide not just professional growth for the employee but more so on how his learning can impact the entire organization as a whole. A Lean six sigma training Malaysia has all that the employee needs to become aware of clearly defined goals with methodologies that are results driven.
Improvements are needed in a bid to increase revenue generation along with customer satisfaction. Once there is a quick turnaround time for processes done in the hospital, more patients will change their perception that long waiting times in hospitals is the usual scenario. This would definitely increase the overall satisfaction of patients.
A structured approach is implemented whereby in the process, teamwork is also improved. It’s where everybody else works to achieve a common goal and in this case, proper clinic management is the answer to help improve the entire process. Along the process, the defects are eliminated which therefore leads to better initiatives to achieve the goals.
Lean six sigma Malaysia methodologies aim to achieve total quality management because it has a clear representation of the goals, risks and necessary steps that need to be done for improvement. This may involve proper distribution of roles and observing small details that play huge roles in the entire organizational process. Proper implementation may start in the management area where it is easier to impose rules and changes needed to set each goals aligned with every member in the organization. It’s a gigantic role for management to identify, get to the details and lead in implementing solutions that will allow everyone in the organization to follow and improve processes that usually increase the risks for dissatisfaction.
Time efficiency is an essential component among healthcare institutions. This clearly affects customer satisfaction and as the most important part of a business, you can’t simply just take this for granted. On the other side, the more patients the hospital can accommodate, the better the results are in terms of generating income for the hospital.
By Lean Partner, 14 May 2016