VA San Diego Healthcare System
VASDHS, a Lean Machine Thanks to Training Program
36 VASDHS staff completed a Lean (Systems Redesign) training program on Sept. 25 - 27 focusing on improving effectiveness, efficiency and reducing waste, in addition to identifying and eliminating non-value added activities around the medical center. The Lean Healthcare Green Belt Program provides employees with knowledge, skills and support to facilitate and lead waste-cutting measures around their work center, with an emphasis on in-depth application of tools to improve a process or system.
“It has been my experience that healthcare organizations perform best when they have a fully engaged and energized workforce,” said Jeffrey T. Gering, CEO/director of VASDHS. “It is also my belief that most every VA San Diego Healthcare System employee wants to make a positive difference in the workplace. Systems improvement and Lean provide a valuable way for our organization to fully realize these two principles. Through Systems Redesign and Lean, those who regularly do the work are empowered to come together in teams to improve their work, by applying a number of proven approaches and techniques.”
The program lists eight different kinds of waste that affect the workplace environment: excess transportation, inventory, movement, wait, over processing, overproduction, defects and underutilized staff. By eliminating these wastes, employees are able to improve patient flow, reduce wait times and cost, reduce defects, and improve safety while promoting creativity.
During the course, staff learned terminology associated with the program and how it is applied. They also participated in hands-on exercises with group members to problems that were of particular interest to our health care system. One exercise included an elaborate simulation of a medical clinic, in which terms and procedures were applied to create rapid process improvement.
At the completion of the course, participants were encouraged to complete their Green Belt Certification by co-facilitating at least one Lean project team at their site, active participation in the VHA Lean Healthcare Community of Practice and passing a competency-based assessment. Candidates fulfilling the requirements will receive their Green Belt certification through Purdue University.