By Brenda de Borja 

HTS’s Transition Planning team continually seeks to enhance its industry knowledge and technical skillset and maintains an awareness and adaptability to emerging trends. These goals amplify the value of Transition Planning services which ultimately, benefit our client’s healthcare projects. Recently, HTS sent a team to a weeklong UCLA School of Public Health Executive Programs course, Introduction to Lean for Healthcare Practitioners. Our team, comprised of COO Kelly Guzman, TP Director Jeff Agner, Project Managers Ann Ahmadi, Ali Broders, and Erin Clark, and Project Coordinator Ryan Dickey learned about and applied various healthcare-specific Lean performance improvement methods. They also had the opportunity to apply these concepts under the direction of experienced Lean coaches and Six Sigma Black Belts. This included numerous rapid improvement events and presentations to the executive team at Riverside University Health System in California.

The Lean Six Sigma Institute explains that “Lean was developed by Toyota to improve service speed or lead time by eliminating the waste in any process. Six Sigma, developed by Motorola, improves the quality of products and services by eliminating variability. Working together, Lean and Six Sigma improve the speed and quality of any process in any industry.” Lean levels of certification are referred to as the Six Sigma belts. Certification starts with the White belt for a professional familiar with the basic principles and vocabulary of Lean Six Sigma. The highest level of expertise, the Black belt, is for the professional well-versed in the Lean Six Sigma methodology who leads improvement projects. The HTS team will earn a Yellow belt certification with this course and an upcoming formal exam, signifying that they are well versed in the basics of the Lean methodology and have demonstrated implementing a successful improvement project.

Jeff Agner, HTS Director of Transition planning adds, “New facility projects can benefit from this knowledge since many organizations we work with are already moving down the path of their Lean journey. This expertise will allow us to better align our operational planning processes with the work that the hospital teams are already doing.  Additionally, the initial setup of a department’s work area during the Fit-Up period can benefit from lean-based considerations.”