Lean Six Sigma helps businesses improve processes and can help you too
What if there was a way to help lower your emergency department crowding and run things more smoothly overall? As an added bonus -- no significant capital investment required.
There is. It is a research-proven methodology called Lean Six Sigma. A few cutting-edge hospitals have borrowed it from the business world and are using it to evaluate how they operate. It’s a technique I use in my consulting to help emergency departments look at process and procedures and gain efficiency. That’s why I was excited to see that Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital published research on how it helped them and wanted to share this article on it with you.
In short, they used it to “shave hours off pediatric patient discharges without affecting readmission rates.” More free beds upstairs helped improve patient flow and prevent emergency department overcrowding. They had to turn away just one patient referral during the 6-month study period.
Using Lean they determined adding an extra team to do rounding would help efficiency. It’s like when they open up another register at the grocery store checkout.
The results: Quality of care wasn’t compromised. Patient satisfaction scores rose. Before the study, 53 percent would recommend the hospital to someone else. After: 75 percent. And staff got on board because the changes implemented allowed them more time with patients and made checkout more efficient. Overall, patients were discharged about an hour and a half faster.
Applying Lean to the emergency department can help you look at patient flow and pinpoint places you can improve. This is a great way to approach decision making when you’re faced with the need to tighten the budget or boost your emergency department quality and safety scores.
Read more about how it worked for Hershey here. Then feel free to contact me to talk about how I can help you evaluate your emergency department and make improvements. I’d love to do a thorough assessment and apply Lean Six Sigma principles to get your emergency department working like a well-oiled machine. It makes for happy patients and happy staff.