Lean Six Sigma Principles Streamline Nebraska Healthcare Processes

Lean Six Sigma Principles Streamline Nebraska Healthcare Processes

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Lean Six Sigma Principles Streamline Nebraska Healthcare Processes

More governments continue to adopt Lean Six Sigma methodology, convinced of its benefits to taxpayers.

It’s already worked for governments in Houston, Miami-Dade County and Kern County, California. Now it’s being adopted by the governor of Nebraska to help make major improvements in the state’s healthcare system.

Gov. Pete Ricketts issued a statement this summer on how the adaptation of Lean methodology has already led to service improvements for the state’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

In his statement, Ricketts said the process and the outcomes “demonstrate that the determination to improve services and processes can and will result in real change for Nebraskans.”

Improving Application Processes

Nebraska’s DHHS Business Plan included 25 initiatives for the state’s healthcare department, all of them focusing on streamlining operations, improving services and saving taxpayers’ money.

One of those areas involved the process for healthcare professionals to obtain a state license. In a news release, Ricketts said the state put Lean Six Sigma into play to help improve the process. Lean focuses on creating more efficient operations, limiting wasted time, money and duplicative tasks.

In using Lean, Nebraska officials overhauled the system to simplify the application process for nurse and medication aide licenses. This included making the screening procedure more efficient, leading to increased turnaround time between the screening and the granting of a license.

The results proved significant. The licensing process time for medication aides fell from 39 days to just nine days. For nurses, the licensing process went from 96 days in November 2015 to just 63 days in June 2017.

“These changes make a difference for our professionals and the businesses who hire them, helping to deliver the healthcare our workforce needs to keep Nebraska growing,” Ricketts said in the statement.

Other Lean Initiatives

Ricketts said the DHHS Business Plan sought to make improvements in three areas he sees as central to successful government:

  • Making state government more efficient and effective
  • Making government agencies more customer focused
  • Reducing the regulatory complexity in governments

All of that aligns with the type of goals set by private businesses that implement Lean.

Nebraska also has taken a process improvement approach to the state’s Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program. Where once the processing of applications ranked the state 48th in the nation in April 2015, it now ranks 15th.

Also, the wait time for calls from Nebraskans needing economic assistance has shortened thanks to the implementation of process improvement. In August 2014, the call wait times were almost 24 minutes. Now they are under five minutes.

Call wait times for Medicaid assistance also have dropped to consistently under five minutes.

The program shows yet again the power of applying Lean and process improvement to the task of making an organization more efficient. For Ricketts, it shows a needed improvement in state services to taxpayers.

“It is one example of the changes we are bringing to state government through measurable improvements to services for Nebraskans,” Ricketts said.

The post Lean Six Sigma Principles Streamline Nebraska Healthcare Processes appeared first on Six Sigma Daily.

Original: http://www.sixsigmadaily.com/lean-six-sigma-nebraska-healthcare/
By: James LoPresti
Posted: August 16, 2017, 2:59 pm

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