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Published on July 01, 2014

Lawrence Memorial Hospital continues quality journey.

By Gene Meyer, President and CEO, Lawrence Memorial Hospital

July 1, 2014

Lawrence Memorial Hospital strives to be the best community hospital in the country. As we continue our journey for excellence we are launching an initiative – to be known at LMH as “Operational Excellence” – based on the principles of Lean Six Sigma.

Lean Six Sigma is a structured program of quality and process improvement that stresses customer focus and fact-based decision making. What started out as a statistical tool to measure performance in manufacturing has evolved to the healthcare field. Lean Six Sigma has shown amazing results in improving the operational and financial health of many organizations and enhancing the outcomes of care for the people they serve.

Gene Meyer is President and Chief Executive Officer of Lawrence Memorial Hospital.Gene Meyer is President and Chief Executive Officer of Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

I’m sure most would probably agree with the following statements as they relate to health care today.

• We can be sure that we will be expected to do more with less. Payments for our programs and services – whether in the form of Medicare or Medicaid, insurance contracts, or from individuals we serve – are far more likely to shrink rather than to grow in the future. We must find ways to take cost out of the system while not compromising our ability to provide the very best in care for our patients.

• We can be sure that our organization and each and every employee will be held to higher standards of accountability. As a community hospital we have made a "social contract" with the public that essentially says in return for the privilege of serving our community’s healthcare needs we will be thoughtful stewards of their trust and our resources.

• We can be sure that market forces will continue to create higher demands on those providing care. It is expected that we will continuously and intentionally get better every day. We need to continue our efforts to streamline processes, reduce variation, and improve outcomes if we want to remain viable players in the modern healthcare marketplace.

Lean Six Sigma is partly about employing techniques of data analysis and process improvement and partly about changing people’s mindsets and organizational cultures. The people factor is very closely related to the process factor, since performance depends greatly on how well work processes are designed and what level of resources are committed to them. Lean Six Sigma focuses on improving processes to meet customer needs and eliminate waste. We can’t lose sight of the fact that our patients’ experiences with LMH are shaped by people and the processes through which they work.

All the jargon and tools of the system notwithstanding, the fundamental key to Lean Six Sigma is engagement with people who believe in the mission, vision and values of an organization and are committed to serving their customers efficiently, effectively and with respect. At LMH we already have a strong culture grounded in this very philosophy. From earning the Kansas Award of Excellence ten years ago to achieving recognition as a Truven Analytics 100 Top Hospital today, LMH has been committed to continuous quality improvement.

Operational Excellence holds the promise of positioning LMH to continue to succeed and serve its mission well into the future. We are embracing this opportunity to add some new tools and learn some new methods to help us continue to be the best community hospital.

I welcome your input and feedback at any time. Please contact me directly at 505-6130 or email me at gene.meyer@lmh.org.

Gene Meyer is President and Chief Executive Officer of Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

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