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Olin Reams

Category of Expertise:

Business & Finance

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02/26/2011 05:21pm
Six Sigma Applied to Healthcare

Setting the Stage

Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Southlake, in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, recently completed a project to re-organize its health insurance validation process. Consultant Ralph Jarvis and his team used ConceptDraw’s brainstorming and the project management capabilities to create a new process that will be rolled out to 11 affiliated hospitals across Texas.

“The goal was to improve the patient experience by reducing wait times,” Jarvis says. “By reusing information, the hospital could ensure that its patients wouldn’t have to fill out insurance forms each time they moved within and between hospitals in the consortium,” Jarvis says. “ConceptDraw was a great communication and management tool. But what made it really stand out was that it also made it easy for us to demonstrate to hospital execs how our Lean Six Sigma approach was producing results.”

Building a Plan, One Idea at a Time

Jarvis says the project was actually made up of three smaller projects. The Six Sigma Black Belt project team used ConceptDraw MINDMAP to manage the brainstorming sessions for each focus area.

“First we used [ConceptDraw] MINDMAP’s brainstorming capabilities to create a visual representation of our thinking. What kinds of things did patients do while they were in the hospital? How much time was spent in any one step of care? How much time did it take to go to the next step, such as getting a CT scan, an MRI, or blood test? What could the hospital do when patients first entered the hospital that would ease patients’ stress and give them a positive experience?”

From Brainstorming to Planning

To facilitate the next step in the process, Jarvis’s team moved from ConceptDraw MINDMAP to ConceptDraw PROJECT and created a project management plan.

“The two programs share a common technique of storing data, so we could instantly view all of the brainstorming details inside a standard project plan,” Jarvis says. “That enabled us to jump right into establishing project timing, coordination among the various departments, and milestones and guidelines.”

Perfect for Lean Six Sigma

Jarvis says the ConceptDraw suite is appropriate for Lean Six Sigma because his team could use MINDMAP to pursue three integrated processes and then put them together into one project. Then the team could use PROJECT to create a time line and complete a specific Lean Six Sigma model.

“What you're really trying to do with Six Sigma is to create a perfect process that eliminates defects—all the things that don’t add value to the end customer. You want to increase the customer's satisfaction with your products or services, and reduce costs associated with defects and inefficiencies. It’s all about focusing on what you need to get to the marketplace and satisfy the customer's needs. It's as simple as that.”



six sigma, healthcare, mind map, lean
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