Master Black Belt helps leaders become lean
Multi-disciplinary team members from U.S. Army Medical Department Activity-Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield Winn Army Community Hospital, and the DHA Low Country Market affiliate service representatives from Charleston 628th Air Force, Beaufort Nava... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

The Defense Health Agency's Quadruple Aim Performance Plan's process to improve readiness, better health, and to deliver better care at a lower cost is used to standardize performance across the Military Health System.

Winn ACH Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and Nurse Consultant, Outcomes Management, Anita Sachs, helped facilitate the course and said she loved seeing the interactions between the students as they participated in three simulations whereby the students could actually apply the concepts learned. Sachs said that by the third round of the simulation the teams had eliminated "non-value added" steps in the process, decreased errors and improved the efficiency. Sachs stressed the significance of having MEDDAC senior leader by-in.

"It was instrumental having Col. Michelle Munroe [Winn ACH Commander] provide opening remarks on Monday of the importance of adopting the Lean way of thinking," Sachs said, "and then her stopping by again on Friday to close out the week seeing the enthusiasm of the seventeen attendees."

Patient Advocate at Tuttle Army Health Clinic and former Marine, Calvin Glover, said his reason for attending the course was spurred in the hopes of improving patient satisfaction in the clinic.

"My goal was to learn as much as possible so that I can implement that knowledge into the healthcare system here at TAHC," Glover explained. "The overall goal is to make Tuttle more efficient and more effective by using Lean principles and concepts."

The concepts learned during the course will help the candidates take what they learned back to their respective departments, hospitals and/or clinics. This systematic approach to problem solving will help the framework of the process to be utilized across the MHS enterprise.

Glover said the week-long course exceeded his expectations and was one of the best classes he has ever attended in his career.

"The class taught me how to look at the healthcare system from a different perspective," Glover said, "and changing the narrative about, 'what we can't do and more of what we can do.'"

Many in the class echoed Glover's opinion of the course.

Supervisory Health Systems Specialist Administrator, Bonita Porter, said the course facilitators were "outstanding" and very "knowledgeable."

"I would recommend this training for all Leaders, Administrators and Staff involved in improving work flow processes and continuous improvements in eliminating "waste"," Porter said. "Lean builds leaders at all levels in the organization."

"My expectations were met and exceeded," said Dr. Heather Saari, Warrior Transition Battalion clinical pharmacist. "I am currently applying this course to my process improvement for centralized booking for clinical pharmacy services. I will use this new knowledge in all my projects."

At the close of the course, attendees are now equipped to incorporate the DHA Quadruple Aim Performance 8-Step Practical Problem Solving Process to more aptly clarify and validate problems; breakdown problems/identify gaps; set improvement targets; determine root causes; develop countermeasures; implement countermeasures; confirm results and processes; as well as standardize successful processes.