This article was written by Lisa Miller.
Today’s healthcare organizations face increasingly fewer resources and higher costs. Many struggle to operate efficiently without compromising either their operating margins or patient care. Lean consulting is a powerful strategy for your hospital which can transform these key areas.
What is Lean Healthcare?
One of the principles we work on at VIE Healthcare Consulting, is bringing in best practices from other industries to implement successful cost reduction strategies in healthcare.
Lean Six Sigma has its roots in the manufacturing sector, empowering businesses to improve their processes so they perform at optimum levels. It operates on the basis that your organizational issues should be managed and dealt with by your frontline staff who have direct insight into problematic areas.
In healthcare that means physicians, surgeons, nurses, and technicians who have invaluable insight into potential issues affecting your profitability and processes.
When applied effectively, the methodologies of Lean Six Sigma can help healthcare organizations to achieve significant cost savings and deliver better patient care. Our experienced leadership team at VIE Healthcare is trained in Lean Six Sigma. Since 1999 we have worked with hospitals to optimize their operations, creating more value for your patients with fewer resources—and zero waste.
Most businesses want to improve operational efficiency, but in healthcare, there is an additional focus on patient safety. Lean consulting principles are also important for hospitals as they can also help to reduce the issues that can result in medical errors.
The areas where Lean Six Sigma principles are increasingly applied include:
ER: Effective and efficient processes are vital in your emergency room.
Discharge and follow up: When carried out properly, discharge and follow-up processes can help to reduce the number of patient readmissions to your hospital.
Outpatient services: Patients who have a positive experience in your outpatient department are more likely to recommend and return to your organization for future care.
The Benefits of Lean Consulting From VIE Healthcare
Lean Six Sigma generally follows the DMAIC process – Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control – to ensure the implementation of sustainable lean solutions.
Applying the principles of Lean Six Sigma in healthcare can help to realize the following benefits:
- Reduce patient waiting times in hospital and physician practices.
- Reduce the time patients spend in the hospital.
- Result in fewer errors related to prescribing and administering drugs.
- Help to prevent patient falls and injuries.
- Reduce unnecessary costs by improving your existing processes.
- Transform the quality of your patient care, leading to higher patient satisfaction levels and improved patient safety.
- Reduced departmental silos.
- Effective and efficient processes also help to enhance employee engagement and improve your retention levels.
- Streamlined operating practices.
Combining lean principles with machine learning and predictive analytics can also result in significant process improvements. At VIE Healthcare, our comprehensive lean strategy combines cutting-edge data analytics and on-site observation to evaluate current operations.
This approach enables health systems to identify improvements which optimize staffing, supplies and space—with a specific focus on improving efficiencies and reducing overall costs.
The key to success is the implementation of a sustainable strategy.
Our lean consulting team educates and empowers our clients to apply these principles after our work with your organization is complete.
If you are seeking specific strategies to improve your hospital’s operational and financial health—schedule a call with Lisa Miller.