Process Improvement at Healthcare Organizations

Introduction

Any company comes to a point when adjustments in the operational process become necessary to provide better customer satisfaction and employee engagement. Process improvement programs are vital elements of organizations’ development. Therefore, managers who care about the constant progress of their companies take care to apply the best improvement methods. The scope of process improvement is rather comprehensive as it incorporates many programs and approaches.

Among the most productive process improvement programs are a program of quality function deployment, value analysis, a zero-defects program, a quality costing program, total quality management, Six Sigma, a quality improvement team, and business process reengineering (Bamford & Forrester 2010). Each of these approaches, if properly employed, can bring positive changes to an organization. Process improvement programs are the center of attention of many researchers and managers (Sanchez & Blanco 2014). They help to satisfy the customers’ needs (Ates & Bititci 2011), and also eliminate risks, and enable the managers to track the demand (Kumar & Schmitz 2011).

The more people are involved in some organization’s operating, the more requirements exist for such organizations. Healthcare facilities combine the need of satisfying the customers’ demands and the employees’ needs for successful performance. Therefore, the healthcare system has a great interest in quality improvement programs (Duarte, Goodson & Dougherty 2014). To make an organization competitive and profitable, managers in healthcare facilities need to come up with the most innovative methods and suggestions that would allow to attract customers and get them satisfied with the outcomes.

Self-Assessment of Readiness for Business Development

I feel quite confident about my abilities to engage in business development. I have learned a lot about operations management in general and my field of work in particular. I have obtained experience working at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Indianapolis which allowed me to see how a healthcare facility is operated and what processes make up a successful organization. The employees had an opportunity not only to practice their professional medical skills but also to take part in various managerial activities.

I have learned about the best project management techniques and leadership tools such as self-management, empowerment, emotional intelligence, visualization, and clear goals (Berg & Karlsen 2013). Additionally, I have acquired knowledge about the best management operations planning techniques such as “just-in-time” management and lean method (Bamford & Forrester 2010). The managerial team at St. Vincent’s Hospital always made the employees feel empowered and important and engaged us in various learning and operational programs.

Due to the experience gained by education and work at this facility, I have acquired a lot of knowledge which allows me to feel confident in my business development abilities. I know how an organization is formed and how to make it operate in a way that will be beneficial for the employees and customers. Of course, I need to gain some more experience, but I feel quite self-reliant about starting to develop a business.

Experience in Process Improvement

My prior personal and professional experience in process improvement is connected with my work at St. Vincent’s Hospital. Our management team did everything possible to engage the employees in process improvement programs. Due to their efforts, I have gained valuable experience. The most successful programs on process improvement employed at our hospital were Six Sigma, total quality management, business process reengineering, and a zero-defects program. I enjoyed taking part in process improvement programs as they enriched my experience and abilities and made me feel more confident about my management skills.

One of the most efficient programs which our hospital used was the Six Sigma tool (Faint 2011). This method is close to lean management and aims at reducing variation. Six Sigma is a cost-effective improvement approach that presupposes the use of several reliable methods instead of engaging external advisors. There was a period in the hospital’s activity when we had outlay problems.

To eliminate this adverse activity, our manager employed the Six Sigma program which consisted of five steps: definition of the problem, measurement, analysis, improvement, and control (Faint 2011). The first phase of the program presupposes establishing a problem and setting the objectives for overcoming it. The measurement phase allows to assess the success and choose the most suitable project. The analysis allows scrutinizing the process with the help of lean methods. In the improvement phase, problem-solving techniques are applied. Finally, the control stage helps to eliminate the failures and guarantee success (Faint 2011).

Thus, Six Sigma is a very productive process improvement program that enables the managers to find the reason for a problem, come up with a solution, and provide control over the solution which guarantees favorable outcomes.

Other programs on improvement which I could observe at St. Vincent’s Hospital were a zero-defects program, business process reengineering, and total quality management. With the help of a zero-defects program, our manager achieved excellence in quality and service. The advantages of business process reengineering were in its possibility to combine various aspects of hospitals’ activity: process, technology, organization, and people.

By creating such a combination, the hospital was able to provide the best services for the customers. Total quality management was another beneficial method applied at St. Vincent’s Hospital. The core presumption of this method is that quality is defined by the organization’s ability to satisfy the customers. Thus, a centralized management approach was used to find the most effective solutions.

Innovation techniques are another positive method of sustaining patient satisfaction at hospitals. There are such methods as novel surgical procedures and transplant techniques, updated pharmacological services, and information technology adjustments (Duarte, Goodson & Dougherty 2014). The innovative approaches used at St. Vincent’s Hospital were concerned with the installation of new computer systems. By doing so, hospital employees became able to get updated on patient data and treatment methods much faster. Our IT team organized efficient ways of sharing information with customers and caregivers which allowed us to save a lot of time and made our treatment methods more efficient.

Conclusion

In any industry, process improvement is crucial for attaining the best outcomes both for the organization and the customers. Healthcare facilities belong to the companies that have an acute need for quality improvement programs. Out of the variety of possible approaches, a manager must choose the ones which best comply with the organization’s goals and objectives. A hospital in which I used to work employed such programs at Six Sigma, a zero-defects program, total quality management, and business process reengineering. The use of these programs allowed us to make our organization competitive and keep our customers satisfied. The experience I obtained during my work at St. Vincent’s Hospital makes me feel hopeful about my business development skills and opportunities.

Reference List

Ates, A & Bititci, U 2011, ‘Change process: a key enabler for building resilient SMEs’, International Journal of Production Research, vol. 49, no. 18, pp. 5601-5618.

Bamford, D & Forrester, P 2010, Essential guide to operations management: concepts and case notes, Wiley, London.

Berg, M E & Karlsen, J T 2013, ‘Managing stress in projects using coaching leadership tools’, Engineering Management Journal, vol. 25, no. 4, pp. 52-61.

Duarte, N T, Goodson, J R & Dougherty, T-M P 2014, ‘Managing innovation in hospitals and health systems: lessons from the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Winners 2014’, International Journal of Healthcare Management, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 21-34.

Faint, R 2011, ‘Leaning towards business efficiency’, Operations Management, vol. 37, no. 5, pp. 37-41.

Kumar, S & Schmitz, S 2011, ‘Managing recalls in a consumer product supply chain – root cause analysis and measures to mitigate risks’, International Journal of Production Research, vol. 49, no. 1, pp. 235-253.

Sanchez, L & Blanco, B 2014, ‘Three decades of continuous improvement’, Total Quality Management & Business Excellence, vol. 25, no. 9/10, pp. 986-1001.