Six Sigma techniques streamline operations, cut costs.
Providence Health & Services, California, was awarded top accolades this month for its utilization of Six Sigma business practices, which seek to improve operations and cut costs, all while ensuring the best care for patients.
Providence received the Platinum Award for Organizational Business Improvement at the October 14 Global Six Sigma & Business Improvement Awards Gala Dinner in Orlando, Florida.
“This is a big, big award,” said Flora Hamilton, director of the annual awards program. “Six Sigma is a great fit for health care because you’re using a proven business system to actually save lives. It’s a fantastic accolade.”
The Catholic non-profit healthcare organization, which saved about $11 million over two years in streamlining processes, also won the award for Best Achievement of Organizational Business Improvement in Health Care. It was among 12 businesses to win awards, and the single nominee selected for the Platinum honor.
“We are so proud of these awards because they recognize the success of our management team in streamlining everyday processes with the goal of improving care for patients, who come to us at a most vulnerable time,” said Myron Berdischewsky, M.D., chief medical officer of Providence California. “This methodic approach has resulted in improvements such as speedier lab tests to minimize the wait in our emergency departments and new policies to ensure accurate doses of medication.”
Six Sigma was developed by Motorola, Inc., and the concepts have been used in the U.S., Great Britain, Canada, and India to improve efficiency in the workplace ranging from improving plant operations to ending a rash of bank robberies.
Arnold R. Schaffer, vice president and chief executive of Providence California, embraced Six Sigma concepts six years ago. His goal in applying it to the healthcare industry was to spur best practices in treating patients while maintaining a healthy bottom line. Between 2006 and 2008, Providence saved approximately $11 million. Shaffer’s model also requires successes at one medical center to be translated to sister hospitals.
Imran Chaudhry, regional director of operational excellence, leads the Six Sigma program for the California region.
“I was astounded,” Chaudhry said Friday. “It’s a true honor that our teams’ efforts over the last several years have really paid off. What’s important about our successes is that we share them, and we definitely will share this Platinum award throughout our region.”
Applications were reviewed by a team of independent judges representing a wide variety of industries including aerospace, technology, manufacturing, finance and business strategies.