Category Archives: News

Aligning Six Sigma and Healthcare – Healthcare

Technological developments are happening at a brisk pace, overtaking existing systems and educational developments.The ever-increasing demand in this sector has had negative impact, leading to overcrowding of hospitals and customer complaints.Main ObjectivesThe Six Sigma methodology aligned with the healthcare sector is a very good option to bring about process improvements with quick results. Improvements are required in common areas such as cost management, service provision and quality of clinical services in healthcare organizations.The major objectives of quality healthcare relate to safety of patients, quality services for patient happiness and reduced turnover of staff by providing good working conditions. Sufficient operating margins are also a main goal.For example, in critical areas, such as the operating room and the entire process of surgery, there may be issues such as pre-op delays, unavailability of surgeons, anesthetists and even some equipment. In these cases, a Six Sigma project that applies the lean concept to pre-op process can bring about major improvements.The safer and more efficient the emergency department is, the more patient satisfaction will increase.Using Kaizen events to monitor equipment or replenish supplies and staffing schedules for medical staff are some of the tools of Six Sigma that can be very useful. In some cases, problems regarding the availability of rooms and support staff at hospitals arise.In this scenario, scheduling processes done using the Six Sigma methodology can prove effective. It helps by reducing defects and medical and prescription errors.Training, Commitment and LeadershipIn the healthcare environment, the management of processes and information is challenging. There is a lack of usage of data in a meaningful way. With lives on the line, hospital administrators tend to concentrate on finding urgent solutions – and the real issues or causes of problems may be forgotten or ignored.Six Sigma defines formal goals for healthcare organizations and the timeline to bring them into force. Well-defined goals are connected to organizations’ performance measures.For a successful implementation of Six Sigma projects in health care organizations, commitment of management and Six Sigma training, coupled with a long-term vision, are necessary. The commitment of top-level management has to be communicated to the lowest levels of the organization and Six Sigma training imparted to the members. The cost of Six Sigma training is justified when the results of the first projects show breakthrough results.In this way, process effectiveness improves, and the reduction in defects and waste brings about savings for the organization as well. Frequent communication of performance helps ensure that everyone connects to the overall goals, be it nursing, housekeeping, billing, administration or any other area.Six Sigma initiatives help increase patient care and satisfaction, physicians’ satisfaction and bring about cost savings that leads to stronger growth of the organization. Each healthcare organization has its own set of distinct requirements, so there is not a one-size-fits-all solution for the healthcare sector.Healthcare organizations can learn from the best practices of the other organizations and use the appropriate Six Sigma approach that fits their specific culture and concerns. They can then live up to their commitment to provide the best services to the community.

Don’t Put Off Researching For The Right Family Healthcare Plan – Healthcare

Family health care plans or insurance can be extremely beneficial to the well being of the people you care the most about. Let’s be honest, our health is very important to us and as we age it becomes vitally important that we spend some time thoroughly researching the health insurance providers in order to find a family healthcare plan that protects the interest of our family’s health without costing us a fortune in health insurance premiums or monthly rates.There are several reasons why researching a family healthcare plan is a good idea. First and foremost as I’m sure you are aware more and more companies are downsizing or eliminating the benefits they provide their employees. Unfortunately, reducing or completely doing away with health care benefits has become the norm as opposed to an exception to the rule. For this very reason it is imperative that you spend quality time now finding an adequate family healthcare plan that will provide outstanding family health insurance to your most precious of assets.Guess what, accidents happen and they do so with enough frequency that should you need to take a trip to the emergency room or to the doctor’s office it’s better if you go knowing that you have a family healthcare plan that has you covered and will take care of any medical or health related bills that appear as a result of the hospitalization required due to the accident.Being financially strapped for cash is no picnic and can be very stressful for many consumers. Having a family healthcare plan allows you to put aside any financial worries you may have in the event you find yourself or a family member needing attention or treatment at a local hospital. Having proper health insurance also affords you the opportunity to save money for other needed necessities in life because you won’t have to worry about having to cover any medical expenses or bills that may come up due to receiving medical attention from a hospital or doctor.As you do your online research in order to find a family healthcare plan that fits your needs, wants and desires you will be able to compare price quotes between several different health insurance providers or companies. Always make sure to look at deductible costs, prescription costs and of course the doctor’s that you can choose to seek future medical treatment from. The time you invest in finding the best family healthcare plan will save you money and aggravation in all of your future medical emergencies.

Driving Healthcare Innovation Through Medical Device Design – Healthcare

The Regulatory Environment
As the industry continues to innovate and leverage new technologies, it is also plagued by a stringent and always changing regulatory environment. Healthcare institutions are always looking for ways to improve clinical trials of medical devices, and incorporate breakthrough technologies to meet the growing demands of patients, healthcare practitioners while at the same time meeting device guidelines and regulations. In addition, the increase in mobility, connectivity and portability of monitoring devices, medical device manufacturers are seeking to build cost-effective and cutting edge connected services.Embracing IT Solutions
Healthcare policy reforms and technological advances have converged to drive demand for new and innovative medical devices for hospitals, healthcare institutions, laboratories and governments. However, with growth come significant challenges (and opportunities) – as guidelines and mandates are constantly evolving and changing the way medical devices are launched, IT solutions can help.• Efficiently manage compliance issues, as well as customer service and complaint issues
• Improve product development and manufacturing processes across key operational functions and meet the demands of an increasingly stringent regulatory environment
• Minimize cost of product development and research while simultaneously improving time to market
• Enable superior research and development activities and ensure richer device (and healthcare) outcomes
• And overcome challenges across clinical development and production, using cutting-edge compliance management tactics, sales and marketing analytics and field serviceSmart Engineering for Improved Healthcare Outcomes
Smart Engineering is the latest wave of engineering processes that’s enabling manufacturers to drive innovation in the product development space:
• With smart engineering, manufacturers can easily and quickly validate error-prone functionality early in the product development
• With such validation, manufacturers can significantly reduce costs and accelerate time-to-market
• Automation of tasks can result in massive productivity gains, and proactive risk mitigation can help ensure safe and reliable products
• Smart engineering enables robustness of product design that delivers high quality to patients and health care providers at affordable prices
• Smart data collection through the design stages leads to predictable outcomes in manufacturing
• Manufacturers can verify changes much before they are implemented, and build safer products with predictable outcome
• Smart engineering incorporates model-based development, with embedded hardware and firmware design, integration and test automation
• Using medical grade communication technologies and protocols, device manufacturers can build a connected ecosystem
• Application development and maintenance medical device design services help in building Electronic Medical Records as well as Personal Health Records(PHR)
• Infrastructure management services enable manufacturers to host solutions on the cloud and leverage the benefits of remote management
• And finally, quality assurance and regulatory services ensure accurate product validation, certification and submission for improved health managementEmerging as Winners
The healthcare industry’s dynamic nature puts continuous pressure on medical device manufacturers to continuously develop products and improve clinical outcomes and patient wellness. Device makers who adapt to industry trends and changes quickly and deliver unparalleled performance with focus on clinical outcomes and reduced support costs are the ones to emerge as winners and become leaders of tomorrow.

Healthcare Staffing Companies Poised For Growth Amid Nursing Shortage – Healthcare

The United States is currently facing a healthcare staffing crisis, based primarily in a shortage of nurses. There is a growing need for nurses, especially travel nurses, and the problem is anticipated to become more acute in the next year. Since 2006, patients have won significant settlements from hospitals for negligence due to nursing shortage, and as the cost of hiring too few nurses comes to outweigh the cost of adequately employing, healthcare staffing companies should have definite growth.People who feared that healthcare staffing would slow in today’s shaky economy and sold their shares in such companies now regret the decision, as these businesses have jumped in value. Shares of several companies providing travel nurses and temporary physicians initially fell due to fear in our current recession, but have since rebounded sharply.According to BMO Capital Markets analyst Jeffrey Silber, “an aging population and advances in medical technology should drive demand, while supply may be constrained as caregivers age with few replacements coming through the pipeline. This should bode well for healthcare staffing supplier stocks.”Silber estimated a travel-nurse staffing revenue of $2.5 billion annually, which is 21 percent of total healthcare staffing revenue. The growth forecast for travel nurses is set particularly slow as tough times push people towards stable jobs at home. He also pointed out that growth in the travel-nursing segment is estimated at 3.5 percent in 2009, compared with 8 percent in 2006.This has not, however, affected many healthcare staffing companies. For hospitals to even maintain current (depleted) numbers of nurses, they must continue to hire new nurses on a regular basis. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the median age of registered nurses (RNs) was 45 years in 2007. Also, another study reported that a third of all current nurses plan to leave their job within the next year.Furthermore, staffing companies specializing in travel nurses are expected to continue to do well financially because of the nature of the job of travel nurse. These healthcare workers are employed by hospitals from around one to four months, so staffing companies increase their profit margins because of the rise in billed rates.Even the weak housing market gives a strange advantage to travel nurse staffing companies, as housing costs is one of their biggest expenses. The fall in housing costs has boosted profit margins.Analyst James Janesky of Stifel Nicolaus reported that hospitals must pay more as the the nursing shortage becomes more acute, predicting a 3 to 5 percent price increase in the foreseeable future.