Six Sigma and Lean Interventions not working?

Twelve months post Six Sigma and Lean thinking intervention and you’ve taken all pertinent measures:  Eliminated negative processes in the value stream, and redesigned processes flow to cut down on wasted time and bottlenecks; yet you still aren’t realizing full cost-saving projections.

What is going on? Our projections were accurate, and our implementation strategy was sound.  “So why are we still missing the mark?”  The answer may be more simple than you think.

In many cases where we see a disconnect between projected and actual benefits of Six Sigma and Lean thinking, it has less to do with outcomes as it does perception.

Over the last decade, U.S Hospitals and Health Systems have been experimenting with new management structures, alternative payment models, and reorganizing process workflows. Each one is more innovative than the last, promising larger cost savings opportunities.

Lean Six Sigma

I think we can all agree that offering the highest quality treatment while maintaining or reducing costs is a priority for every organization.  With the complexities and strong competition in Healthcare, it’s only good practice to try all methods, adopting and adapting, to maintain any competitive advantage.  Right?  Well, as these Healthcare organizations adopt and adapt, there is a growing disconnect among its most important stakeholders: Doctors and Nurses.

Physicians and Nurses increasingly feel like they have little say in the decision making of new strategies. They recognize the urgency and value in saving costs but feel excluded from decision-making processes and view new strategies as management-led mandates.

The 2017 US Front Line of Healthcare Survey focused on asking 1200 healthcare professionals many open questions regarding the future of healthcare landscape in order to see physicians and administrators’ priorities in care delivery and who has the decision-making authority.

Key Findings:

  • 61% of respondents felt as if decision making in their organization was management led, while 39% felt as if they were engaged in that process.
  • Respondents in organizations who felt more engaged in the decision-making process had a higher Net Promoter Score as a place to work (36%), feel inspired by organizations mission (80%) and feel sufficiently engaged on strategic direction (83%)

Practical Implications:

It may seem odd to suggest that key user groups like Doctors and Nurses are being excluded from major organizational decisions, but it is a perception shared by many front-line healthcare employees.  If not addressed, this perception will derail an organization’s Lean and Six Sigma interventions.

“Providers will have greater success at implementing change if they improve stakeholder alignment on cost-saving initiatives”

Organizations that manage to do this create a virtuous circle: If Key Users feel engaged in the decision making, then they are more likely to promote your organization goals and be aligned with your missions, leading to better outcomes. Soriant Solutions knows how important Key Users are and the impact they have on implementation of any change strategy. We know this because our Soriant Solutions Team has over 100 years of experience working with or as these Key Users.  As part of our three-prong approach to assessing and implementing opportunities, we conduct Key User Interviews to better understand your organization’s environment AND to increase engagement and perception of front-line professionals.

Call Soriant Solutions today to discover how our many strategies can help you and your organization reach your quality and financial goals.

About the Author:

As a Healthcare Services Analyst, Chase analyzes large data sets to assist the team of Soriant consultants to assess and implement maximum savings opportunities for hospitals and health care systems.