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With Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certifications, 46 DeKalb Medical Employees Now Have Tools to Improve Processes

May 28, 2014

Forty-six DeKalb Medical employees recently celebrated earning their Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certifications, providing them tools and principles to eliminate waste and defects, thus improving hospital quality and efficiency.

Lean Six Sigma is an approach to process improvement that focuses on the elimination of waste or any aspect of an existing process that doesn’t add value, and concentrates on reducing variation in existing processes and/or redesigning those processes so there are no defective elements.

“DeKalb Medical is committed to Lean Six Sigma as our performance improvement methodology,” said DeKalb Medical Chief Executive Officer John Shelton. “This investment from the organization and our Green Belts will assure our success as a high-reliability organization, and a safe place to provide and receive care.”

The 46 employees completed a rigorous six-month training process and project to earn certification. Participants included clinical (ex. nurses) and non-clinical (ex. information technology, human resources) specialists. 

“Organizations sometimes become invested in fixing issues on the surface instead of diving into why processes don’t work, and in the long-term it creates more waste and doesn’t produce the desired outcomes,” said DeKalb Medical Director of Quality and Process Improvement Ellen Hargett. “These forty-six employees now know about getting to the root of the problem instead of an idea to temporarily fix it.”

Examples in the health care industry of leaner processes include 1) reducing wait times and providing quick access to a practitioner in the emergency department; 2) conducting tests at the bedside instead of moving a patient out of his/her bed to another area of the hospital; and 3) recognizing then allowing employees to provide ideas to improve quality and the patient experience. 

Hospital-acquired infections, patient falls, employee injury and dissatisfaction are examples of defects in the health care industry that could be significantly reduced or eliminated through developing evidence-based standardized processes.  

About DeKalb Medical

Founded in 1961, DeKalb Regional Health System, Inc., known as DeKalb Medical, is comprised of more than 800 doctors skilled in 55 medical specialties across three campuses. The 627-bed system includes DeKalb Medical at North Decatur (451 beds), DeKalb Medical Long Term Acute Care at Downtown Decatur (77 beds), DeKalb Medical at Hillandale (100 beds), DeKalb Medical Physicians Group and the DeKalb Medical Foundation. The not-for-profit health care system is a HealthGrades® Five-Star Recipient for Treatment of Heart Attack in 2013 and Five-Star Recipient for Peripheral Vascular Bypass in 2012, and earned the Get With The Guidelines®–Stroke Silver Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart/American Stroke Association. Our Maternity Center was selected as a participant in the Best Fed Beginnings project as part of UNICEF/WHO’s Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative. Our Cancer Center received the Outstanding Achievement Award and is granted three-year approval by The Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons as a community hospital comprehensive oncology program. Our Joint Solutions Center is a metro Atlanta leader in joint replacement. In addition, our LTAC earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for acquired brain injury, wound care and respiratory failure services. Visit www.dekalbmedical.org.