Lean Six Sigma Consulting

Originally developed to improve efficiency and quality, Lean Six Sigma is now being widely adopted by financial institutions, retailers, hospitals and other corners of the services industry. It is a blend of two concepts: lean, which is aimed at reducing waste, and Six Sigma, which helps organizations reduce errors.

The current business scenario demands that organizations look at various means to reduce cost while maintaining operating effectiveness. LSS offers a platform by enabling organizations to achieve process optimization and thereby attain underlying efficiencies and cost savings.

At Hallmark healthcare, both techniques promote a systematic team based approach to problem solving and an organizational focus on continuous improvement of key processes. Many health systems are turning to lean and six sigmaas tools to address cost and quality simultaneously. They are complementary and often overlapping philosophies that make the organizational goals the top priority.

Many organizations struggle with “control” phase, which requires sustained focus on gains that have been made through an improvement effort.

Recent reforms in the healthcare industry and increased consumerism (patient's control over the quality of care they receive) are forcing healthcare organizations to provide excellent patient experience despite dwindling budgets. Demand driven workforce management is a necessity to ensure that the right skill is available in the right time at the right cost. Hallmark Healthcare’s Workforce Optimization does just this: Define, Measure, Analyze and Improve.

Executives are finding it difficult to adjust staffing based on current and future volumes due to lack of data and effective decision making tools. Real-time dashboards, analytics and predictive; Einstein II helps to monitor house-wide staffing status and hours per patient-day for optimum labor productivity. Einstein II is your Control in the DMAIC process.

The Key to Success is in the Workforce!

As the days of a volume-driven health care delivery model are giving way to a value-driven model, the way organizations will manage the processes and the people, as well as the tools needed and how they are used in this new world are also changing. The question being asked by most health care leaders today is “what will be most critical to successfully making this transformative journey?” And the answer is in managing the most critical asset in health care organizations today, the workforce, and developing that asset into a competitive advantage.

Lean Nurse Scheduling

The basic tenets of Lean and Six Sigma are to lay the groundwork and identify necessary tools to implement the program in any healthcare system. This further helps the system to identify opportunities to incorporate Lean and Six Sigma tools and understand how to get started.

Laying the groundwork generally needs the consideration of variables like:

  • Cost and Quality: Many programs being put into place today are fundamentally based on the assumption that higher quality ultimately leads to lower costs.
  • Targeting Excess costs: Organizations with strong continuous improvement programs will be the best prepared to reduce excessive costs.
  • Demand patterns in the industry: New demands from patients are forcing the redesign of the way care is delivered in nursing practices.
  • Readiness Assessment: Before embarking on a process improvement program, it is critical to ensure that the necessary infrastructure is in place so that you can make the most of limited resources.
  • Change Continuum: The culture must be regularly assessed in order to ensure that it is continuing to move up the continuum.
  • Measure and analyze: Lean and Six Sigma offers additional analytical rigor and provide tools to achieve desired results by effectively managing the areas of opportunity, organizations can realize measurable improvements within the nurse scheduling.

Many organizations are turning to Lean and Six Sigma as tools to address cost and quality simultaneously. They are complementary and often overlapping philosophies that make the patients’ needs the top priority.


Improving Nurse Scheduling in Health Systems Using Lean Principles – How it Can Optimize Costs

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Project Example

A six-hospital system with 14,000 nurses and staff spanning five counties in MI

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Lean Ambulatory Scheduling

As healthcare evolution moves more volume from the inpatient world to the outpatient market place it is becoming increasingly important for systems to lean their operations and become more effective and efficient. However, a current lack of robust analytics, intelligent work force systems and real-time decision-making tools limits the ability to make improvements in operations and control the success.

Project Example

A leading dialysis group with resources spanning over 13 centers in NY

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Increasing reimbursement cuts

Regulatory reforms are forcing more and more centers to revisit their labor costs which contributes to more than 55% of the overall costs.

Limited ability to share resources across centers

Lack of house-wide view of real-time staffing status across all centers limits organization’s ability to float resources from one center to another. In case of any last-minute volume changes , each center is forced to work short or utilize overtime while another center sits with no patients.

Lack of house-wide real-time Productivity data

Limited interface between patient scheduling and staff scheduling systems restricts real-time monitoring of productivity and the centers' ability to adjust staffing based on census.

Lack of data and models to predict future needs

Currently centers are forced to staff reactively and do not have adequate data to predict future volumes.

Lean OR Scheduling

Unique complexities and lack of customized scheduling solutions drives most operating rooms to adopt Manual/paper scheduling processes.

Complex scheduling challenges

  • Multiple parallel shifts(E.g.: 7a-3p; 8a-4p; 9a-5p, 24hr shifts, 16 hr shifts, late day, etc)
  • Extensive on call usage; flexibility to schedule employees on call for partial shifts
  • High OT usage as scheduling is closely correlated with patient cases and last-minute changes in patient case schedule, limited sight into scheduling needs or resources at other locations, poor planning and limited back up plans
  • Multiple disciplines with differing skill sets and flexibility in cross training etc

Expensive resources spend significant time on manual scheduling

On an average, managers in each unit spend 3 hours every day for scheduling. Considering that OR RNs and CRNAs are highly paid resources, organizations spend $15-25K per month on OR scheduling. Further, senior manager are heavily dependent on few people for scheduling and have little to no control over the labor spend or processes.

Lack of Data Analytics

As most of the schedules are prepared on paper, there is little to no means to get analytic insights: properly budget for next year, evaluate current budget against cases, scenario play skill mix, shift lengths and start times, monitor employee scheduling practices, leaves, OT creep, compare OR case schedules with labor costs and productivity of resources, etc.


Einstein II is the only product on the market that’s configurable enough to manage all the uniqueness of OR scheduling and offer the analytics desired.

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Improving Nurse Scheduling in Operating Rooms using Lean Principles – How It Can Optimize Costs

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More Whitepapers
Project Example

A Four Hospital system with 21 Surgical units

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