Is Lean Six Sigma Changing Healthcare?

At one point about 20 years ago, there were no books, conferences or curriculum dedicated to Lean Six Sigma in Healthcare. Now, the tools abound and seem to be flourishing. We are now seeing that the methodology is alive and well in healthcare, which is a significant change from when it was first introduced two decades ago. In the past five years however, we have seen the most significant change in the application of the methodology in healthcare. These changes were significant to the industry, as they shifted the focus from purely clinical application to all areas of healthcare, which include support services, medical schools, rural clinics and outpatient centers. This expansive growth of Lean Six Sigma has forever changed the structure of healthcare.

One of the biggest challenges in implementation on such a broad stroke stroke in the industry has been the fact that healthcare doesn’t have a solid history of applying statistical rigor to effect the outcome of operations. The typical Lean Six Sigma healthcare project involves the standardization of processes, making sure work is done the best way every time with the fewest number of steps. It increases the quality of care by reducing the errors that come with variation and waste. There was a significant learning curve to overcome.

It was quickly found that the methodology offers an alternative to cost reductions through staff layoffs. It has also lead to significant improvements in better patient safety and flow. When leaders embrace the methodology from top to bottom, one can completely change the organizational culture! Organizations who have made the most amount of progress say it’s not just changing what they do, but how they think! It has been transformational. Studies have shown that an effective Lean Six Sigma program can reap a ROI for the organization of 20% – 50%.

Contact us at 6Sigma.us and find out how we can positively change the culture and operations of your healthcare organization. We offer Green Belt and Black Belt training programs, as well as a Master Black Belt program.

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