A clinic wanted to solve a problem of reducing the length of time between when a patient called for an appointment and when they could get in to see the physician. The clinic, at first, thought they should establish a Lean/Six Sigma project. Those are the tools most organizations have heard about, heard that they succeeded in improving other organization’s performance, and believe they should do the same thing.
There are a lot of tools out there to use. You have to know what questions you need to answer and what questions those tools answer to match the correct tool to your situation.
For the clinic, it was thinking about how to improve throughput. Often, the best set of tools to do that is Theory of Constraints: identifying the constraint (physicians’ time), making sure those resources are fully realized, subordinating other resources to them, and figuring out ways to expand capacity. Most companies fear using other less-efficient resources because they believe it costs more. In reality, if you can do more, have more throughput, you utilize more capacity and reduce costs. Putting less-efficient resources in place to help the constrained resource is better than not having the increased throughput. In this situation, better utilization of physician’s assistants and nurse practitioners helped the clinic see more patients, increased the clinic’s and the physicians’ incomes, and increased their market share.
Whether it’s Theory of Constraints or Open Book Management or Lean/Six Sigma or something else, we can help you find the right tools and get everyone engaged thinking through the right questions to get the right answers to create the success your organization deserves.