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Lean and Six Sigma are often confused, but they are often used side by side in healthcare and other industries to create improvements. Six Sigma is a metrics-driven system used to reduce medical errors and remove defects from processes involved in delivering care. Both methodologies strive to optimize operations and increase value for patients. #sixsigma Sigma and #lean focus on reducing defects and eliminating waste, respectively. #leansixsigma is a hybrid improvement process that combines the two systems of the last two decades.
𝐓𝐨 𝐦𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝐢𝐭 𝐜𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐫, 𝐋𝐞𝐚𝐧 𝐝𝐨𝐞𝐬 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐦𝐞𝐚𝐧 𝐩𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐦𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤 𝐟𝐚𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐨𝐫 “𝐚𝐭𝐭𝐚𝐜𝐡 𝐫𝐨𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐫 𝐛𝐥𝐚𝐝𝐞𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐦𝐨𝐯𝐞 𝐚𝐫𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝 𝐟𝐚𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐫”. In Lean, employees work at their regular 𝐞𝐫𝐠𝐨𝐧𝐨𝐦𝐢𝐜 and 𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐮𝐚𝐥 speeds. Time savings come from finding and eliminating idle states.
In Lean, waste is commonly defined as any action that does not add value to the customer. Essentially, waste is any 🆄🅽🅽🅴🅲🅴🆂🆂🅰🆁🆈 step in a process that does not benefit the customer, therefore, the customer does not want to pay for it. Lean is centered around eliminating waste from a process. When wastes are removed, only the steps required to deliver a satisfactory, now high-valued, product to the customer are left.
In an average process, the customer value adding activities are around 𝟗% of all activities performed by an organization (Reference: Going lean, Hines & Taylor, 2000). Traditional leadership and management target this small ‘piece of the pie’ and wants to improve it. Lean teaches us to 𝐢𝐦𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐯𝐞 𝐞𝐟𝐟𝐢𝐜𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐲 in the 91% section, in which business non value adding activities and non value adding activities occur.
Organizations that establish lean principles in health care argue that #lean is the better approach to improve healthcare, because it values all members of the patient care team and can be implemented by 🅰🅽🆈🅾🅽🅴. Unlike Six Sigma, Lean does not require advanced statistical methods, costly training, or expensive platforms and systems. More importantly, Lean values can be applied gradually on a continuous path to value-based health care. Each episode of care and every interaction with the patient represent 𝒐𝒑𝒑𝒐𝒓𝒕𝒖𝒏𝒊𝒕𝒊𝒆𝒔 to cultivate #value and reduce #waste .
In the last post of this series, I will elaborate more on how Lean concepts are implemented in the health care sector.
Peggy is a Lean Six Sigma master black belt at heart, a people’s people and bridge builder. I’ve worked at large multinationals in service and production industry. I am creative,analytic with a touch of geek. I have two lovely princesses, a wonderful husband and we live in sunny Curaçao