Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Increasing Efficiencies in Healthcare
The way a hospital or a health system operates includes multiple players and many protocols and procedures followed by the medical staff and administrators. The outcome of this work is the quality of healthcare being provided to patients. With any larger organization, there is a complexity with coordination of protocols across different departments. Today, all of these small inefficiencies within a hospital all add up to a lot of waste of resources, inefficient use of labor, and lost time. The patients are the ones who suffer the most because of the lower quality of care being provided, more room for error, and longer length of stays within a hospital. These inefficiencies attribute to the rising healthcare costs to patients, hospitals, insurers, and the government.
One of the main obstacles is lack of quality communication. The communication between physicians imposes a huge issue when multiple doctors treat one patient. The physician culture is structured that each doctor works independently and very rarely consults or collaborates with other physicians when it comes to a patient's care. This gap in communication attributes for major inefficiencies because unnecessary or repetitive labs and tests are run on patients, incorrect drug treatment is prescribed, and sometimes this results in the death of a patient.
Lean, Six Sigma, and TOC are essential systems to implement within healthcare because not only are time and money being lost in the current system, but patients' lives and well-being are on the line. You can swallow the lost costs of an extra resource being used, but you can never pay for someone's live to be returned.