Four years into its existence, Christiana Care Health System’s Lean Six Sigma program is rapidly expanding organizational capacity to deliver value within the health system. By training employees in departments throughout Christiana Care as quality-improvement experts, the program creates employees who can recognize opportunities, identify root causes of problems, develop quality-improvement interventions and deliver meaningful, sustained improvements in health care from the inside out.
“Lean Six Sigma training is showing concrete results in the elimination of waste and errors, greater patient satisfaction, and improvements in efficiency, effectiveness and affordability of care,” said Vernon L. Alders, MHCDS, MBA, MSW, corporate director, Organizational Excellence, and director of the Value Institute’s Center for Organizational Excellence. “The training is also generating a remarkable return on investment. Projects in our first two Green Belt classes have resulted in cost savings and/or revenue enhancements of more than $3 million.”
The program is offered through the Value Institute’s Center for Organizational Excellence, sponsored in partnership with the internationally recognized Juran Institute quality-management company.
On Feb. 16, Christiana Care graduated its first class of Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belts, a group of about 100 employees from 11 departments throughout Christiana Care who participated in training that introduced them to Lean Six Sigma quality-improvement principles. About 30 members of the inaugural Yellow Belt class took an additional exam to earn certification as Rapid Process Improvement leaders.
Under the expert guidance of Senior Organizational Excellence Consultants, Dr. E.J. Johnson, Ph.D. ChE, MSChE, MBA, LSSMBB, and Derek Vandersteur, MSM, BSIE, MBB, this year’s program was enhanced significantly to add rigor to the team’s performance improvement projects.
Also this fiscal year, the program expanded to include its first Black Belt class — a group of eight Christiana Care employees working toward advanced Lean Six Sigma certification — and offered Green Belt and Yellow Belt training to candidates outside of Christiana Care for the first time to help expand organizational capacity among partner organizations.
Along with the new Yellow Belt and Black Belt programs, Christiana Care is in its third year of offering intensive Green Belt training. About 60 employees have completed the months-long training, and another 30 are in a current class. The training process for all belt levels includes each candidate identifying and completing a quality-improvement project within his or her individual area of expertise.