Just when it seems there’s no end in sight to rising health care costs, Dr. Channing Tassone and the Orthopedic Center staff at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin have figured out how to deliver health care services more efficiently. As a result, the center’s patients are happier.
Tassone and the center’s team did so by borrowing ideas from business and industry. They applied lean manufacturing principles to their clinic setting to remove confusion, waste and redundancy from the clinic’s routines.
Working with consultant Aneesh Suneja of FlowOne Lean Consulting LLC for 18 months, the center’s staff examined the clinic’s operations from a patient’s point of view. In the process, the team uncovered duplicated steps, role confusion and communication issues that resulted in wasted time.
After making some changes, the center was able to reduce the time it takes to get a next appointment by 33 percent; reduce patient waiting time in the clinic by 75 percent; improve patient satisfaction scores by 100 percent; improve staff satisfaction scores by 25 percent; and, with the same amount of staff and clinic space, increased the center’s capacity to serve patients by 25 percent.
Tassone led the team in focusing on the care delivery process from the patient’s perspective. Tassone says the ultimate goal in applying lean principles was to improve efficiency so that doctors could spend more time – not less – with their patients.
Says Tassone: “In today’s difficult economic times, it is paramount that we can deliver care in the best possible way, and at the same time be as efficient as possible.”