Low and behold, I finally got the urge to write a blog about the State of Healthcare in the U.S.   I feel so compelled about this topic that I decided to share my thoughts about LEO and Healthcare.

As we all have seen in the last few years, healthcare continues to be challenged.  The future is cloudy… frankly, the future is really dark if you think about it.  The National Healthcare expenditure in 2009 was $2.5 Trillion or 17.6% of the GDP.  Previous studies have identified a full 30% of total healthcare services provided is waste.  That’s real loss, measured in real dollars, that provides no value whatsoever to anyone! Change is coming and all providers will be impacted by the Affordable Care Act.

Here’s another startling statistic, hospital-acquired infections (HAI), or infections contracted by patients while they are hospitalized, cost the U.S. between $35 billion and $45 billion annually. In Europe, someone who gets such an infection has a one in 122 chance of dying; in the United States, the probability jumps to one in seven. That means that Americans are approximately 17 times more likely to die from these presumably preventable diseases than their brethren in the developed nations of Europe. Hospital-related infections could presumably be trimmed down substantially if America prevented deaths related to these infections at the rate Europe does.  Ultimately, it comes down to process and the way I see it, the process is flawed!

Currently many organizations are embracing process improvement strategies that have been proven in other industries in order to increase operational efficiency and improve quality and safety.  The application of Lean methods is the latest fancy.  No question, Lean has many merits but it is not the one size fits all ultimate solution.  So what does work?  I think its LEO.

LEO for Healthcare draws upon a wide landscape of quality improvement tools and methods.  It can be used in a variety of situations to address “fires” as well as reduce waste while improving efficiency in “flow.”  Engagements are tailored specifically to the client’s needs.  No “off the shelf” training manuals.  With the flexibility of LEO, engagements can be project-based or enterprise-wide.  With the proper infrastructure and leadership, the culture of an organization can change and everyone from top to bottom can be focused on improvement. Typical results for LEO deployments in the HealthCare practice have resulted in ROIs of 10 to 1 or better, which translates into savings in the millions of dollars.

Here’s some proof, recently completed a project focused on Operating Room (OR) processes for major hospital. Using LEO, we listened to the voice of the customer to determine where their pain points were.  Based on that very detailed information and feedback we gathered, we enriched the OR processes by prioritizing problems areas and then identifying the root cause of each one of the problems. Ultimately,  we optimized the OR by implementing solutions that eliminated waste, increased productivity and throughput, streamlined the process and ultimately not only met, but exceeded customer expectations.  Bottom line, this hospital had incremental OR revenue of approximately $2 million.

Another LEO project for a different healthcare facility significantly reduced Hospital Acquired Infections (HAI) in that facility resulting in a savings of $250,000.  They found that their HAI rate exceeded the community standard.  In the Listening phase, we gathered data and found that there was one area in the hospital that drove the unfavorable result.  In the Enrich phase, we developed a set of standardized protocols that when implemented had an immediate impact in reducing the rate of HAI.  In addition, and as part of the protocols, we identified a unique set of patient supplies, that when utilized by the staff, resulted in improved patient satisfaction, along with the added bonus of being less costly to the facility.  So, in essence, implementing LEO created a win/win scenario for the healthcare facility as well as for the patients being treated.

If you want to change the DNA of an enterprise for sustainability, then hiring a “Black Belt” or “Lean” expert and expecting the results we achieved above is not the solution.   Ideally you must involve the entire organization in the process; have everyone take personal responsibility to make an improvement, and have the solutions tailored to your exact needs – LEO in action.  ASI-CG Healthcare, LLC (www.asiusa.com/healthcare) has the unique opportunity to help healthcare providers learn how to improve quality while reducing costs and in the process increase patient satisfaction.   Feel free to leave a comment or contact me at [email protected].