Lean Six Sigma Deployment at Kent Hospital in Turkey Pays Dividends

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Implementation of the methodology at the facility produced improved operations along with measurable financial results that more than paid for program setup.

The Lean Six Sigma deployment at Kent Hospital demonstrates that combining top-level management support with empowered teams can dramatically improve quality while reducing costs in a healthcare setting

One year after pioneering the first Lean Six Sigma deployment at a healthcare facility in Turkey, Kent Hospital shared its success stories at the Six Sigma & Lean Conference held in Izmir, Turkey on May 9-11, 2008. Organized by the Chamber of Mechanical Engineers, the conference was attended by a record crowd of over 1,100 professionals.

Kent Hospital made its presentation on how Lean Six Sigma can be implemented at a hospital, and co-facilitated a workshop with its deployment partner, NOVACES, a consulting and training firm. In his presentation on Lean Six Sıgma in hospitals, Mesut Guderel, deputy leader of Kent's Lean Six Sigma coordination team showed how they improved patient billing, materials management, discharge and bypass surgery processes.

"There is a belief that Lean Six Sigma is more applicable in the manufacturing industry. However, by applying Lean Six Sigma tools to hospital processes, for example, we shortened the discharge process from 134 minutes to 79 minutes and the ratio of patient files waiting for doctor signature went down from 26% to 1%," said Guderel. He underscored that while increasing patient satisfaction and improving quality, the hospital also saw serious financial gains. "Training financed itself from the very beginning," Guderel noted.

During the conference workshop attendees learned how Lean Six Sigma techniques are applied to improving patient satisfaction and outcomes with timely and efficient process improvement. The methodology combines the principles of Lean (a systematic approach to eliminate waste) with the best practices of Six Sigma (a rigorous, data-driven process to eliminate defects), which results in a very structured, focused approach to process improvement.

The session theme stressed that Lean Six Sigma programs require both commitment and consistency. In large measure successful implementations require significant culture change, which most companies find a challenge. To help meet this challenge and ensure continuous improvement, senior management champions who are accountable for quantifiable results are one of the keys to the journey to performance excellence.

"The Lean Six Sigma deployment at Kent Hospital demonstrates that combining top-level management support with empowered teams can dramatically improve quality while reducing costs in a healthcare setting," said CEO Bahadir Inozu, Ph.D. of NOVACES.

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