For nearly five years, WellStar has used Lean methodology to simplify and standardize processes, resulting in easier, more productive workflows and better patient outcomes. Now, WellStar is gearing up to take Lean to the next level by refining Lean educational offerings and adding the Six Sigma process improvement methodology.
What does all this mean? And what does it mean to you?
“It’s all about working smarter, not harder,” said Jennifer Strahan, executive director, Lean Six Sigma. WellStar’s goal is for everyone – from new employees to senior leaders – to understand how our everyday work and performance outcomes can be enriched by implementing Lean Six Sigma concepts in our daily routines.
“This is a unique opportunity,” said Strahan. “We’re the only healthcare system in the world where you can participate in something this innovative.”
WellStar Windy Hill Hospital has saved work time and thousands of dollars through inventory process improvements. “Even more importantly, we’ve increased team member and patient satisfaction by reducing frustration through improved processes,” said Deborah Smiler, Quality Improvement manager, WellStar Windy Hill. “Patient safety and quality has improved by employing better methods for medication dispensing and administration and managing various clinical processes through work standardization. Lean has touched most departments and encouraged collaboration.”
With Lean’s help, WellStar Kennestone Hospital reduced post-operative pneumonia by 30 percent; the CLEAR Lungs Program employs screening high-risk patients, education on pneumonia prevention with the incentive spirometer and early ambulation. Kennestone’s medication reconciliation improvement process has moved accuracy into the 90th percentile – and this ranking has been sustained for more than a year. And the EVS team was nationally recognized for its use of Xenex, the state-of-the-art cleaning/disinfecting system launched in October 2012.