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Once the Lean Six Sigma principles have been put into effect, it would appear that the organization is running more smoothly than ever. There are fewer wastes, and therefore more profits, than ever before. There’s just one problem: complacency means that you are no longer identifying new opportunities to be lean.
There are always areas for improvement, many of them areas that you might not have thought about before. Healthcare Finance has offered their take on some different ways that healthcare institutions can learn to be Lean, many of which might have been overlooked in the initial application of the Lean Six Sigma principles. Healthcare Finance went looking for areas that many healthcare organizations might not have thought of yet. Their primary source of waste? Healthcare transportation.
The reason for this waste is simple: transportation systems throughout hospitals and other healthcare systems developed independently of one another. Instead of a coherent whole, they mimic one another but do not work together. Healthcare Finance identified several areas where healthcare providers could cut down on waste and get lean, including redundancy in stored materials because the same materials were required for different areas and therefore stored in different places; equipment redundancies because equipment isn’t shared between locations; redundant locations for pharmacies and other necessary areas; and couriers from different departments showing up at the same location to pick up goods that would ultimately be delivered to the same place.
For the healthcare system, it’s clear that the transportation system would benefit from a major overhaul. What’s the “transportation system” in your line of work? Where could you find new ways to be lean?