Diagnostic Imaging Improvements with Lean Six Sigma

Diagnostic Imaging

The field of diagnostic imaging witnessed the biggest revolution with the inception of X-rays back in 1895. Within a couple of years, X-rays became an indispensable part of the medical field.  The following decades continue to deliver a steady stream of innovative developments such as the advent of MRI (magnetic resonance Imaging), PET (positron emission tomography), nuclear medicine, computed tomography, Ultrasound, multi-slice CT scanners, RIS(radiology information systems), molecular imaging,  speech recognition and digital mammography.

These devices have proved to be lifesavers and have played an indispensable part in diagnosing heart ailments, cancer and other fatal diseases.  But with an increase in the number of patients undergoing these tests, the effectiveness of these devices is getting negatively affected.

So, to curb all this, more and more health care providers are opting Lean Six Sigma methodologies for a seamless delivery process and to eliminate the problems which are associated with the increase in patient traffic.

Using the advanced and latest six Sigma strategies have opened up new life-saving possibilities for the patients. Now the diseases can be diagnosed and treated earlier, that too with greater accuracy. With a sharp increase in consumer demand for this fast and smart technology, there is a need to hire and retain some lean six sigma green belt and lean six sigma black belt professionals. These professionals will help to strike a balance between traditional workflow and advancing technologies.

Read Also: 5 Questions Every Six Sigma Aspirant Should Ask

Problems Facing Imaging Technologies

Imaging technologies in today’s time offer greater speed and stellar image quality. But the organizations and the patients may not be able to realize the benefits due to the inefficiencies prevalent in the traditional workflow.

Even after installing the latest equipment, most of the healthcare providers still face a lot of problems, errors and inefficiencies such as:

  • Increased length of stay
  • Emergency department bottlenecks
  • Delay in diagnosis and treatment
  • Long waiting time to see the doctor
  • Patient dissatisfaction
  • Referring physician dissatisfaction
  • Loss of revenue
  • The potential loss of outpatient business

Optimizing Technology through Process Improvement

In order to improve performance, technology should be optimized. Also, the technology should be appropriately aligned with the processes and should ensure cost-effective and safe patient care. Six Sigma has already proved to be effective by implementing technical strategies along with Lean and other cultural tools which help in accelerating the change and building acceptance.

The application of Lean Six Sigma in diagnostic imaging promises:

  • the optimization of time and equipment resources,
  • the improvement of service delivery
  • elimination of manual errors (caused by nurses, staff, radiologists, physicians etc)
  • cost reduction
  • significant improvement in revenue and brand value

Lean Six Sigma methodology uses the DMAIC methodology i.e. Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control to eliminate the non-value added steps (defects) that cause delays, identify and remove errors and variability issues and remove inefficiencies as well as redundancies that undermine the organization’s best efforts.

A hospital or diagnostic imaging center can achieve their goals in an optimal way by creating a team and getting them trained in Lean Six Sigma certification courses. The certified professionals will be given a Lean Six Sigma green belt, white belt, yellow belt, black belt or master black belt as per the course selected.

The six sigma professionals will maximize the organizational benefits by examining the entire workflow processes such as service cost, service cycle, market potential and service quality.

Using DMAIC in Improving Diagnostic Imaging

DMAIC methodology is essentially designed for already existing processes such as diagnostic imaging. Have a look at how DMAIC helps in improving Diagnostic Imaging.

  1. Define Phase

All the common problems associated with delivery processes and diagnostic imaging are identified and classified in this phase.

  1. Measure Phase

In this phase, the impact of problems on the overall quality of services is assessed.

  1. Analyze Phase

Here all the related business processes are analyzed in order to identify the root cause of the problem.

  1. Improve Phase

Here alternative solutions are researched and the best one is implemented based on its ability to improve the efficiency of diagnostic imaging devices.

  1. Control Phase

Control Systems are implemented so as to maintain the consistency amongst the services.

Read Also: Things to Know About Green Belt Certification

Final Words

The organizations should focus on providing the much desired Lean Six Sigma training to nurses, physicians and administrators and most importantly the diagnostic imaging professionals. Enroll in the courses now!

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