The Christiana Care Organizational Excellence department held a graduation celebration in March for 32 candidates who recently completed Lean Six Sigma requirements for Green Belt and Black Belt certifications.

“This represents our fourth cohort of practitioners who have completed this rigorous training program, and I couldn’t be more impressed with the contributions that these 32 individuals have made to Christiana Care,” said Vernon Alders, MHCDS, MBA, MSW, corporate director Organizational Excellence.

Lean and Six Sigma are proven quality-improvement methods that have been used across industries for decades as a way of improve customer experience. Lean seeks to eliminate all forms of waste from our health care system in order to satisfy the needs of our customers. Six Sigma reduces variation and defects in our processes. Together these two approaches provide a powerful methodology to improve both efficiency and effectiveness of our services.

Leslie Shenock, MBA, Kate Rudolph, MS, project planner Brian Matson of Rehabilitation Services, Heather Panichelli, AGCNS-BC, MSN, RN, CEN, CPEN, Vernon Alders, MHCDS, MBA, MSW, Jennifer Painter, MSN, APRN, CNS, RN-BC, OCN, AOCNS, and IT manager Don DiGiovanni served on a panel discussion about Lean Six Sigma and its application at Christiana Care.

In addition to celebrating the accomplishments of these 32 individuals, Organizational Excellence hosted a panel discussion with several recent graduates to discuss the application of their training to help spread their new skills and knowledge across the system to achieve even greater improvements.

“In spreading the culture of process improvement, I look forward to partnering with my colleagues in applying the Lean Six Sigma methodology to strive for patient care with the highest possible value,” said Brian Matson, project planner, Rehabilitation Services. “With the focus on continuous, sustainable gains as a team, it is exciting to look ahead and envision even greater patient experiences and outcomes in the future.”

Using a method known as the Cost of Poor Quality, Lean Six Sigma quantifies the cost of errors and waste in our daily work. As a result of these 16 projects, Christiana Care has eliminated nearly $2.7 million dollars in waste and defects.

“A well-designed Lean workflow is both efficient and pleasing to those involved in the process, including patients and staff,” said Linda Laskowski Jones, MS, APRN, ACNS-BC, CEN, FAWM, FAAN, vice president of Emergency and Trauma Services. “No one wants to spend precious time on tasks or activities that are wasteful or non-value added.”