Lean and the IT Dept

By: Denise Hammel

Too often, I see organizations with robust Lean/Six Sigma departments yet there is a complete disconnect with Information Technology. Where an opportunity could exist to integrate a Lean approach to technology implementations, there is a void. Lean/Six Sigma often focuses on operational efforts and quality initiatives, which is not inappropriate by any means, but does not address the process and change aspects that technology implementations bring to the clinical environment.

Why should we believe that Lean does not belong with Technology?

Technology is a tool that can be woven into the Improvement phase of the DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) model. For those who have lived in a technology world, we don’t often think of it that way. We think about the technology first and foremost, and the processes surrounding it as an effect of the solution. Maybe we have it backwards? Maybe that’s why technology has created so much disruption in Healthcare. Or why much of the data that we are now so keenly dependent on is not available or not demonstrating the outcomes we need it to – the systems were not designed with an “outcomes” mindset.

It’s often the case that Lean thinking does not influence how many aspects of the Information Technology organization operates even when the organization as a whole will consider itself Lean. For example, does the Project Management Office evaluate potential projects with prioritization matrices and criteria that speaks to the Voice of the Customer? How much time is spent in HIT related efforts gathering information about the current state before change is implemented?

It’s not too late to integrate Lean into your business and clinical operations or to revamp how you approach HIT projects with a Lean mindset. XcellenceFirst can help you rethink your approach.

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