Saturday, August 29, 2015

Lean Sigma in Healthcare


Years ago, my wife owned a medical billing practice.  Being her partner, I got deeply involved with her operations and the interaction with her clients.  Years later, I started my own durable medical equipment company that included me consulting and assisting pharmacies and doctor practices.  At the time, mid-1990’s, to assist my endeavors, I attended seminars and workshops that introduced me to process improvement methodology that included Management by Objectives, Theory of Constraints, Total Quality Management, Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma.  It was intriguing but over my head with too much information and not enough time to understand what it all meant.  I was also servicing providers on the Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act more known as HIPAA.  At the time I was fortunate to work with consultants strong in LSS as they mentored me on how I can use these methods slowly in our efforts to streamline medical practices.

I realized then that LSS Management could tremendously help the Health Care Industry.


Nearly 20 years later, medical providers are challenged to be more efficient as a result of the Affordable Health Care Act aka “Obamacare.”  Politics aside, the new paradigm created an influx of more patients and competition.  Providers are tasked to streamline their operations without sacrificing quality care and service.  

The playing field has indeed changed since the days of Richard Chamberlain and ‘Dr. Kildare.”

Since obtaining my certification, I’ve kept close tabs on the medical industry and what it’s doing to incorporate these methods and find that it’s far under served. 

There are two fundamental reasons why:  First, smaller medical providers have little time and financial resources to spend on ideas that have not yet hit their radar.  Second, there’s not enough qualified LSS certified practitioners skilled in the medical industry to service this large community.

Established hospitals throughout the world have adopted these principles and reaped the rewards for their efforts.  Smaller providers, however, with limited resources, cannot reap what’s not available.

It is here, that I recommend that more LSS professional reach out to the medical community, especially in their immediate area, and offer consulting and mentoring services.  

It is always important to save money and increase profitability, but it’s doubly important to create opportunities of better care, quality service and happy patients.

The following represents Internet links to key articles helpful in promoting Lean to the Healthcare community and ideas on how to deploy and implement this methodology.  The information may be difficult to follow since it references Lean Six Sigma and business process terminology and concepts.  To help you follow some of these ideas, in the right panel of this blog, under "References" a post "Learn Lean Six Sigma for FREE" is available for your review.  

Lean Six Sigma Changing Healthcare

Deploying Lean in Healhcare

Application of Lean to Healthcare

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