Thrive, Don’t Just Survive!

SigmaMed’s Rapid Improvement Training (RIT) project is a one-day event designed to rapidly fix an urgent improvement priority, while mentoring a team in effective use of the Lean Six Sigma (LSS) process improvement methodology.

The RIT project format emphasizes team building, honest communication, leadership development, and capacity development and enables you to initiate a profitable Lean transformation driven by results and new revenue, rather by cost and faith.

Using process measures and the “vital few” tools of LSS, a cross-functional team will determine root cause and design intervention experiments to address an issue identified by the leadership team.  After the event SigmaMed project managers virtually guide the project team as they refine new processes to reach your improvement goals.  Significant improvement is not attained through one-time big fix endeavors, rather it is an incremental march to continually getting better through a structured process of daily improvements.

At the end of the session, leaders will learn to facilitate the SMART Huddle Board to engage all staff and spread this structured mindset of continuous improvement throughout your facility.  The SHB brings improvement to the forefront of departmental management and provides a tangible venue to sustain and refine improvement of departmental processes.

In the process of solving this problem team members will gain the skills, experience and confidence to apply Lean thinking in their work.   You energize your team, earn a tangible ROI on your training dollars, and take one problem off your to-do list for good.

CAH Clinic RIT Case Study – Rapid Productivity and Access Improvement at Kahuku Medical Center Clinic

“I am so happy with the results of this training! The changes are making a real difference for our patients and this clinic. My staff leading the PDSA cycles are finding new ways to improve every day and are totally motivated to make this the best clinic on the island!”  – Anny Malufau, Manager

Kahuku Medical Center (KMC) is a 21 bed Critical Access Hospital on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii.   KMC has a 5 provider clinic and recently completed a Rapid Improvement Training project to increase clinical productivity, patient access, and overall satisfaction.  Following are some results of this rapid improvement project:

  • 57% increase in access and clinic revenue within 2 months
  • Happier patients, providers and staff
  • More consistency in subprocesses such as timely provision of results, refills, referrals, rooming, scheduling, orders, and follow-up.
  • Thousands of minutes saved per month repurposed to CPC+ outreach, previsit planning, and other advanced care management tasks

Please read our Case Study for more information.

To discuss the applicability of the RIT to address your challenges, please contact us:

Small Hospital RIT Case Study – Timely Admission Orders at White Mountain Regional Medical Center

“This was the best 1-day training I have ever experienced. The team’s solution was far better than I could have expected and they now know how to correctly use Lean tools to tackle our next challenge. I would unconditionally recommend the Rapid Improvement Training to any CEO who wants to quickly get things done and build the capacity to continuously improve!”    – Greg Was, CEO, White Mountain Regional Medical Center

White Mountain Regional Medical Center (WMRMC) in Springerville, AZ is a Critical Access Hospital with 15 beds.  In 2014 staff noted excessive delays in medication administration after patient transfer from ER to the Med-Surg floor.  In addition to potential lapses in patient care, the admission order issue was causing discord between departments, risking potential fines, and causing excessive wait times.

As part of the Small Rural Hospital Transition Project, the National Rural Health Resource Center (Center) engaged SigmaMed Solutions (SMS) to facilitate a Rapid Improvement Training project. Following several preparatory calls to charter the project, gather process data, and provide a webinar training on the keys to Lean Six Sigma, the project team, SMS, and Center personnel met for a 1 day RIT event at WMRMC.  Using various LSS tools, the team identified root cause, planned intervention experiments using the PDCA cycle, and created a control plan for the process.  Follow-up calls were conducted at 2 weeks, 1 month, and 2 months post-project to track results and ensure sustainability.

Prior to the project, the defect rate – i.e. admission orders not completed by a hospitalist in a timely manner – was measured at 75%.  At 1 month post-project, the defect rate was determined to be 0%, with the team now measuring process performance in minutes, rather than hours.  At 2 months the defect rate was still 0% and the process considered stable.   The RIT project enabled WMRMC to reach their improvement goal, facilitated open communication between departments, and began building the internal capacity to lead future improvement efforts.

Please read our Case Study for more information.

To discuss the applicability of the RIT to address your challenges, please contact us:

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the likely financial returns on a RIT project in the clinic?

In the past, RIT projects have returned enough to pay for themselves within a month or two of the on-site session.  According to Pareto, 80% of all benefit will come from 20% of effort.  The RIT is designed to prioritize work on these high value issues first and guide staff through improving on those before moving on to the next tier.  The team can then use what they have learned in the first couple mentored improvement cycles to work through the entire list of subprojects. Significant time will be saved/created that clinic leaders can then redirect into more patient visits and higher value activities (Case Study).

2.  Where does this fit into our plans to do a more complete clinic redesign?

Through experience we found that the initial list of problems a clinic team comes up with in a RIT are very close to the final list of improvement subprojects needed for a full practice redesign.  Once the team is through the initial problem list it can then use the same tools to prioritize a next tier of subprojects and apply the PDCA cycle of continuous improvement to further refine clinical processes.  The goal in a RIT is to quickly teach teams the tools, help them through realizing 80% of the gains, and enable them to continue on their own as long as necessary to reach your goals, or forever, whichever you prefer! (we prefer forever!).

3. How is the RIT related to the Joy in Practice Transformation?

The RIT is a building block of a complete Joy in Practice Transformation.  The mistake managers often make is to try to assign new work without first making things more efficient and effective.  This overloads staff and adds complexity to suboptimal processes, which makes them even worse!  To get to a Joy in Practice redesign you will want to work through several improvement cycles first and as time is created shift work to staff who all of a sudden have free time according to the JIP recommendations.  Also, you will find that as the team figures out how to fix things the ideas they come up with are often very close to those in the JIP report and, voila, you end up close to a JIP practice before you know it.

4. Can we do just the RIT without the ongoing project management?

We are in Lean because we care about customer value.  What we have found is that clinic managers usually don’t have free time to both run the clinic and do the extra work needed to manage the improvement project.  There is a lot to learn and until you have done it a couple times it will take a lot of time to figure out what to do at each turn and that endangers project momentum.  Teams want to have clear direction and see they are doing useful work, or they will lose interest and the effort will die a slow death.  If it doesn’t die, it will take far more time to realize the kind of returns we can help you realize in this short project cycle and you won’t be ahead financially.  If, however, you want us to lead the on-site portion of the RIT and manage the project yourself, we will offer that option for a reduced price.

Contact Us

To discuss the applicability of the RIT to address your challenges, please contact us: