When organizations fail to align internally, often times, it’s quite apparent externally. If an organization’s culture is not clearly defined and properly conveyed to its people, they tend to have difficulty performing tasks as required resulting in less and less satisfied customers. The results are often painstakingly difficult to overcome and can snowball over time, becoming larger and increasingly expensive to fix.
A Troubling Situation in Healthcare
As costs begin to rise for both health care providers and patients, we must become more vigilant in our effort to reduce costs by streamlining our processes in order to extend our savings to the people who need it most– the patients.
Lean Six Sigma provides a clear roadmap to doing what’s necessary to not only deliver the greatest value to the patient, but also to increase revenue, reduce costs and improve collaboration by building a culture that fosters highly effective and communicative people.
Results From the Bottom Up
Often, organizations are unsure of where to begin in their efforts to improve the performance of their people. While every organization is different, it’s quite often that the most successful initiatives start from the bottom of the organizational pyramid– by the people at the front line.
By communicating with employees who have direct contact with the patients and their families, you’re able to receive a clearer, less-diluted observation of the multitude of situations that are dealt with on a daily basis. Having a clear understanding of what patients and their families want and need gives invaluable insight into which processes need be improved. This ensures that patients are satisfied without performing unnecessary steps in the process, which often times increases the cost to perform that process. These unnecessary steps are called Waste. One of the goals of Lean Six Sigma is to reduce or remove this Waste completely.
Additionally, when front-line employees have a stake in the problem solving process, they’re more likely to perform as required to correct those problems since they’re opinions are held valuable by managers and executives who control the decisions that will be made. This benefit travels up and down the pyramid, improving morale and the overall culture of your organization.
Building a Better Culture With the Help of Lean Six Sigma
By providing a host of valuable tools including SIPOCs, Value Stream Mapping and Value-Added Analysis (among other Lean Six Sigma Tools here), organizations are effectively able to determine which problems to fix, when to fix them and how to fix them. It’s important to note however, that although these tools play an important role in solving problems, they’re not nearly as effective without a culture that fosters growth, communication and accountability.
Healthcare organizations must build on their commitment to serve their patients as their needs are ever changing in today’s increasingly difficult economic environment. Lean Six Sigma principles can help unify a team, department and/or your entire business by helping everyone understand the common goals that an organization must set out to achieve in order to build a better healthcare system that places the patient at the center of its focus.