243179 Using continuous process improvement tools to increase organizational efficiencyŚLessons learned from three community health centers

Monday, October 31, 2011

Olivia Lindly, MPH , Community Health Systems - Policy, planning, and evaluation practice area, Altarum Institute, Washington, DC
Laura Skaff, DPA , Community Health Systems - Policy, planning, and evaluation practice area, Altarum Institute, Washington, DC
Kristen Perosino, MPH , Medical Care Systems, Altarum Institute, Washington, DC
Halima Ahmadi, MPH , Community Health Systems - Policy, planning, and evaluation practice area, Altarum Institute, Washington, DC
Julia Fantacone , Community Health Systems - Policy, planning, and evaluation practice area, Altarum Institute, Washington, DC
Along with several other continuous improvement methods, Lean tools and techniques originated in the manufacturing industry. In recent years, these methods have been increasingly applied in health settings to standardize operational processes as a means to improve both the efficiency and effectiveness of care delivery. As safety net providers, including community health centers (CHCs), strive to meet the health care needs of a growing patient population with limited resources, continuous improvement methods may be one vehicle to produce more positive outcomes. Yet, a dearth of information exists as to how safety net organizations may best utilize continuous improvement methods and the short-term outcomes that might be expected en route to quantifiable changes in operational efficiencies. Therefore, a formative evaluation of Lean tools and techniques (Lean) similarly applied in three federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) was conducted to answer the following questions: (1) What were the major barriers and facilitators to using Lean at these FQHCs; and (2) How, if at all, did the use of Lean initially add value to these FQHCs? Key informant interviews with a purposive sample of leadership and frontline staff, who were involved with the use of Lean at their FQHCs, were conducted at two time points. Thematic analysis was subsequently completed using NVivo software. Common themes related to major barriers and facilitators as well as value added will be described in this presentation. The implications of lessons learned will further be discussed with respect to other CHCs considering the use of continuous improvement methods.

Learning Areas:
Administration, management, leadership

Learning Objectives:
1.Identify three Lean tools applicable for community health center settings. 2.Describe major lessons learned, including shared barriers, facilitators, and initial outcomes, from the use of Lean tools in the three community health centers. 3.Discuss the implications of lessons learned for other community health centers contemplating the use of continuous improvement methods, such as Lean tools and techniques.

Keywords: Community Health Centers, Health Care Delivery

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I have overseen this evaluation as well as other domestic public health program evaluations conducted by Altarum Institute.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

See more of: Access to Care II
See more of: Health Administration