- Posted by Joe Crandall
- On November 9, 2010
- solution, Solution: Healthcare, Solution: Lean, Solution: Process Improvement
Collaborative analytics: the “leaning” of a health network
Greencastle Consulting conducted a three-month Lean Six Sigma (LSS) training program within the Albert Einstein Health Network (AEHN) in order to improve the healthcare network’s ability to focus on the easiest and most beneficial solutions. Its goal was to tackle issues across all of the network’s departments, to demonstrate that the Lean program would create a core group of individuals within the AEHN who could learn the program effectively, show improvements in processes throughout various departments, and continue the Lean training process by teaching and mentoring others.
To begin the Lean approach, Greencastle selected its initial group of AEHN employees who were to become the internal Lean subject matter experts within the organization. Using a set of quality management methods, mainly the DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) method, these individuals were taught to utilize empirical statistics to determine project success in concrete terms, to use the Y=f(X) formula to project viability and measure outcome success, while simultaneously removing waste from project processes and designs.
Over the course of three months, all trainees were brought to Green Belt status, ensuring that they had the ability to approach new projects with a predefined sequence of steps and specific outcome values. The program transformed or eliminated non-utilized talent, capitalized on project inertia, identified over-processing, while teaching basic equations to quantify project benefits as well as the language of successful management. Critical leadership skills were instilled within the trainees in order to shape project outcomes and provoke successful team collaboration and accountability.
Through instructor-led courses and hands-on project experience, these initiates became waste-reduction experts who were given the means to train others within the network. AESIP (Army Enterprise Systems Integration Program) recognized the Lean’s potential to solve complex process problems within a healthcare network, and awarded a grant to embark on a Lean initiative, utilizing the original team created by Greencastle. This created a widespread spring of LSS experts at AEHN, which adopted the program throughout all of its service providers and healthcare departments over the past decade.
AEHN saw increased interdepartmental issue resolution, improved cycle times and operator efficiency, and decreased patient errors. By eliminating “gut instinct” service implementation methods and moving toward a quantifiable set of outcomes, the provider group easily demonstrated the success of the LSS approach to its patients, employees and to external organizations. Greencastle’s approach within AEHN achieved a markedly widespread cultural change, showcasing the positive results that the Lean method achieved.