WA Public, Private Health Organizations at LEAN Management Conference

Wednesday marked the final day of the Washington State Government’s 2014 LEAN Transformation Conference in Tacoma. Thousands of stakeholders from state and local government attended to learn about LEAN management processes.

The conference is part of a performance management initiative called Results Washington, established by Governor Jay Inslee through executive order in 2012. The initiative is designed to increase customer satisfaction throughout all state government entities and aid leaders in fact-based decision making.

State health organizations had a distinct presence at the conference. Kevin Quigley, Secretary of Washington State’s Department of Social and Health Services, delivered a presentation titled “Start with Why: How DSHS has Transformed into a LEAN Organization”

15423135229_b2454a1f5f_n (2)

14989028194_bc54a2ec5a_n (2)

Secretary of the Washington DSHS Kevin Quigley at the 2014 Lean Transformation Conference (source: ResultsWA)

DSHS  uses lean processes to reduce work hours and cut costs throughout the organization. In May, DSHS used LEAN principles to evaluate the intake process used by HCS Adult Protective Services. Using a technique called ‘value stream mapping’, employees developed a standardized intake process for Adult Protective Services across Washington. According to a July report from the State Legislature, these improvements are expected to result in significant efficiency gains.

Private sector health organizations have also used lean principles to improve efficiency and customer satisfaction. Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle is a prime example of how lean processes can reduce costs and improve the patient experience. By adopting lean processes, Virginia Mason reduced cumulative nurse walking distance by 750 miles per day, freeing up over 250 hours of time for direct patient care. The Leapfrog Group even recognized Virginia Mason as its top hospital of the decade.

Virginia Mason has successfully adapted a management approach that has had sustained impact for the health care system and has led to a culture of continuous improvement. They have lived it, felt the challenge of change and transition, and have maintained the commitment and discipline. The fact that Virginia Mason is driven by the same purpose we are – serving patients and communities – helped them understand us better than consulting companies could.”

— Andy Hilig, vice president for Operational Excellence for Wheaton Franciscan Health care (source: blog post)

The improvements were so successful that Virginia Mason established The Virginia Mason Institute in 2008, a non-profit corporation where Virginia Mason staff can share their experience and knowledge in applying lean principles to health care. Virginia Mason even has its own lean system called the Virginia Mason Production System, which it teaches to other organizations to advance quality care, safety, and value.