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Lean Strategies in Healthcare

Bill Griffith, CSSBB, CQA, is executive director of operational excellence, Health First, Rockledge, Fla.
Bill Griffith, CSSBB, CQA, is executive director of operational excellence, Health First, Rockledge, Fla.

Health First’s Lean strategies focus on meeting financial goals while also addressing new quality guidelines established by the Affordable Care Act.

This blog first appeared in hfma’s leadership blog on July 28, 2015.

What processes or outcomes is your department, organization, or team trying to improve?
Health First is using Lean methods to improve efficiencies in various departments. The integrated delivery network, headquartered in Rockledge, Fla., has four hospitals, a large multi-specialty medical group, outpatient and wellness services, and health insurance plans.

One specific initiative at Health First’s Holmes Regional Medical Center, a 514-bed, level 2 trauma center located in Melbourne, Fla., is improving operational efficiency and eliminating waste to improve its financial status. Holmes identified the pre-admit process and the discharge process as the first areas to evaluate based on Lean methods. New efficiencies in those areas would have the most immediate impact, as those are traditionally areas where logjams occur.

Holmes uses TeleTracking to monitor daily hospital functions in real time and captures performance data on pull time—the length of time it takes for patients to occupy assigned beds—number of transfers, and total length of stay (LOS), as well as turnaround time for all ancillary support services, such as transport, environmental services work, lab work, and radiology. The data are available on demand, with the goal of eliminating wasted time and resources.

Download the Health First case study by clicking here.

For example, when monitoring LOS, it is critical to know when and why patients are being hospitalized beyond DRG guidelines because longer LOS can affect payment. In addition, bed turnaround time is monitored to ensure the patient admittance process is starting in a timely manner and care and discharge are being performed efficiently so new patients aren’t waiting for a bed.

To read the rest of this blog, click here.

Categories: Healthcare Operations Management, Operational Efficiency