Crouse Hospital is teaming up with the emergency medical services community and Welch Allyn to again provide Lean Six Sigma training to hospital staff members, regional EMS providers and engineers from Welch Allyn.
This innovative training and performance improvement collaboration, which Crouse started in 2012 with Rochester Institute of Technology and Rural/Metro, began in April and runs through late June. When the 25 participants finish the course and their respective performance improvement projects, they will be awarded Lean Six Sigma “Green Belt” certification from RIT.
Lean is a performance improvement methodology which had its start in the manufacturing sector focusing on decreasing waste within a process. Six Sigma is a process to improve performance by decreasing variation within a system.
Over the years the synergy of the once-considered separate improvement methods was recognized. When this process is put in place, it creates improvements that drive customer satisfaction and, in the case of healthcare, improve care and outcomes. Crouse has used Lean Six Sigma for several years in a number of areas to improve processes in patient care and hospital operations.
The training, made possible by a New York State Business Development Grant managed through Onondaga Community College, is taught by professors from RIT’s Center for Quality and Applied Statistics and the Center for Excellence in Lean Enterprise.
“At Crouse, we continually push ourselves to be a better organization and do things that have not been done anywhere else,” states Michael Jorolemon, DO, Senior Quality Officer for Emergency Services at Crouse. “This collaborative will help guide improvements in efficiency and, most importantly, effectiveness of our operations.”
The Crouse program is the first and only Lean Six Sigma training program in the U.S. that includes a hospital, EMS providers and a leading manufacturer.
There will be five project teams, with five members each, with representation from EMS, Welch Allyn and Crouse Hospital. The varied backgrounds of the students is what really makes this initiative so unique and elevates the opportunities for discussion and collective improvement on each of the five projects, says Jorolemon.
Participants will come from Crouse’s emergency services, neurological services, obstetrical services, patient and guest relations, and medical/surgical nursing, with a mix of directors, managers and front-line staff. The EMS membership has relationships with several different agencies representing three counties. The team from Welch Allyn is represented with members from research, new product development, information systems and business operations.
“Through this partnership, our leaders and new product development teams will obtain a better understanding of our customer's issues that impact performance, efficiency and effectiveness,” states Tony Wagner, Welch Allyn Senior Director for New Product Development. “It is our hope that Crouse, CNY EMS and Welch Allyn find this partnership worth continuing as a mutually beneficial source of innovative healthcare approaches to solving patient problems.”
The teams will be learning and applying the principles of Lean Six Sigma, while working on projects to improve the quality and continuity of care around stroke patients, patients needing spinal immobilization and obstetrical patients, in addition to overall improvement opportunities focusing on the throughput of patients within the health care system.
“In the current healthcare environment, a process that uses data to drive improved quality outcomes and yields bottom-line results while improving the effectiveness of care for the patient is truly a win – win,” says Crouse Chief Quality Officer Derrick Suehs. “Harnessing the collective wisdom of our EMS partners, where care begins, the Crouse care component and the team from Welch Allyn – a global leader in medical products – is a unique partnership that will serve all our patients well as we work together to advance healthcare in our region and beyond.”