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Six Sigma Pays Health Care Dividends in Turkey

Published: Tuesday, June 17, 2008 - 22:00

(NOVACES: New Orleans) -- One year after pioneering the first lean Six Sigma deployment at a health care facility in Turkey, Kent Hospital shared its success stories at the Six Sigma & Lean Conference held in Izmir, Turkey, on May 9-11. Organized by the Chamber of Mechanical Engineers, the conference was attended by a record crowd of more than 1,100 professionals.

Kent Hospital made its presentation on how lean Six Sigma can be implemented at a hospital, and cofacilitated a workshop with its deployment partner, NOVACES, a consulting and training firm based in New Orleans. In his presentation on lean Six Sigma 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,” Guderel told the conference. “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 percent to 1 percent.” 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 improve patient satisfaction and outcomes by focusing on 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 commitment and consistency. In large measure, successful implementations require significant culture change, which most companies find challenging. 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,” says Bahadir Inozu, Ph.D., CEO of NOVACES.

For more information, visit www.novaces.com/pressroom/31.

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For 39 years Quality Digest has been the go-to source for all things quality. Our newsletter, Quality Digest, shares expert commentary and relevant industry resources to assist our readers in their quest for continuous improvement. Our website includes every column and article from the newsletter since May 2009 as well as back issues of Quality Digest magazine to August 1995. We are committed to promoting a view wherein quality is not a niche, but an integral part of every phase of manufacturing and services.