- July 22, 2014
- Posted by: Cheryl Rybka
- Category: Skills
“Hospital Laboratory Redesigns Space, Improves Response Times”
Compassionate, safe and quality health care close to home; delivered by a family of devoted professionals. Las Colinas Medical Center, built in 1997, is a 100 bed full service, acute-care facility offering a wide range of services to the community and families they serve. In addition to exceptional care and facilities, Las Colinas is fortunate to partner with over 400 highly trained physicians who practice on their campus. Las Colinas Medical Center is a Hospital Corporation of American (HCA) facility.
Las Colinas Medical Center, a Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) facility was experiencing capacity constraints in the Laboratory area due to continued growth and volume increases over the past few years. HCA North Texas Corporate Management’s team issued a request for quote to assist with the facility design and process improvement of their Lab operations at the Las Colinas Medical Center facility. They wanted to improve through the application of Lean & Six Sigma principles and methodology. The goal of the project is to improve the workflow efficiency and resource utilization in the Laboratory Department to meet growing demand. TMAC was awarded the project after replying to the RFQ and interviewing with the Corporate Management team.
TMAC worked with a cross functional team of employees from the Las Colinas Medical Center familiar with the Hospital Laboratory Operation and Ancillary Departments. The team was trained on basic Lean concepts through participation in a hospital based simulation. The team utilized basic Lean knowledge gained in the simulation to improve Laboratory operations and the layout following the *DMAIC process (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve & Control) for improvement. The team focused on improving the utilization of manpower, materials, methods, and facilities in order to service Hospital laboratory customers with optimal efficiency. TMAC assisted the team with the development of Process Maps for the various specimens, as well as, Spaghetti Diagrams of the process flow through the laboratory using the DMAIC process.
Using a pedometer, the team determined that in a typical day a laboratory technician takes approximately 11,450 steps while working in the laboratory.
The Principles of 5S was introduced next to the team. They proceeded to apply 5S throughout the laboratory. During the Set-In-Order phase of the 5S deployment, the team decided where things should be located in the laboratory and a new more efficient layout was created. This included a centralized area for storing consumable materials. In addition, a Pull/ Kanban system was implemented to control the inventory levels and reduce the cost of inventory. This type of system controls the flow of resources in a production process by replacing only what has been consumed.
Through the implementation of the new layout developed by the TMAC led team, the laboratory was able to achieve significant improvements in specimen processing time for the Emergency Department: an estimated 49 percent! This in turn has allowed Las Colinas Medical Center to delay the construction of a new laboratory facility indefinitely!