The Sarah Bush Lincoln Health System of central Illinois is praising the practices of Lean Six Sigma and the role that information technology has played in implementing those practices for saving hundreds thousands of dollars over the past two years.

According to an article from HealthLeaders Media, the regional health care organization is requiring all directors managers and supervisors to complete Lean Six Sigma training in their first year of employment to ensure that the practices are ingrained in the organization’s culture and company leaders are able to initiate lean projects on their own.

In nearly all aspects of its emergency department operations, the article stated, Sarah Bush Lincoln Health System has relied on the principles of Lean Six Sigma and the power of IT to make the project work. One example of this combination is a lean project aimed at reducing emergency department patient walk outs and increasing co-payment collections. The organization’s IT team installed laptop computers on mobile carts, allowing patients to spend less time in the waiting room, as registration clerks could collect necessary information bedside, using the mobile computers. Care, therefore, begins almost immediately. When a pending discharge status is placed in the patient’s electronic chart, the clerk can then return to bedside to visit with the patient about insurance co-payment.

According to the article, this simple change has led to a 26 percent increase in co-pay collections and a 1.2 percent decrease in patient walk outs. This is yet another example of how the practices of Lean Six Sigma increase a company’s efficiency to save time and money, while increasing consumer satisfaction.

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