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Lean Six Sigma principles have the capability to improve processes and eliminate defects in almost every industry. Applying these principles in rural hospitals play a vital role in improving business processes and reducing waste so that healthcare services offered to patients are more efficient. Compared to community hospitals, rural hospitals often face problems associated with overcrowded waiting rooms, limited space, and limited resources. Implementing Lean Six Sigma principles improves the care provided to patients by:
- Implementing improved processes in handling patient records
- Decreasing the amount of time between when the patient arrives, is admitted, and is discharged
- Improving the process of delivering medications
- Boosting employee morale
- Improving employee training methods
In addition to these benefits, Lean Six Sigma can be helpful in the hiring practices of physicians, nurses, and other staff. Using tools such as value stream mapping to evaluate the hiring process and cause and effect matrices to prioritize hiring efforts, leadership can bring aboard staff in a timely manner. Discovering the root of recruiting problems is advantageous in implementing hiring practices that attract talented staff and encourage them to become part of the community.
Lean Six Sigma projects have been used to combat a host of clinical and operational issues within rural hospitals. Not only have the application of these principles played a role in improving processes, but also in creating brand new processes, systems and services that add value to the organization. The Pyzdek Institute is a great online resource for Lean Six Sigma training.