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Implementing Lean Six Sigma Methodologies In The Radiology Department Of A Hospital Healthcare System

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

New Topics in IE Education

Tagged Division

Industrial Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.727.1 - 11.727.10



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Paper Authors


Jamie Workman-Germann Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

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Jamie Workman-Germann is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering Technology. She teaches courses in Materials and Manufacturing Processes.

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Heather Woodward-Hagg Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

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Heather Hagg, CQE, CSSBB is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering Technology. She teaches courses in Industrial Engineering Technology.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Implementing Lean/Six Sigma Methodologies in the Radiology Department of a Hospital Healthcare System


Increased focus is being placed on the quality of care provided by Hospital Healthcare Systems around the country. Caught in the middle between tightening government standards, stricter compliance guidelines for insurance companies, and the basic mission to serve those in need with quality and compassion; hospitals are looking for ways to improve their processes (services) for the benefit of all.

CT (Computed Tomography – CAT Scan) and MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) services in the hospital radiology departments are revenue-generating areas. The reimbursement rates for these services are very high, the scan times (especially in CT) are relatively low, and so the potential for additional revenue to the hospital comes with increasing patient capacity for these services. However, it is also a very competitive time for hospital radiology departments as many outpatient diagnostic centers are being built, drawing patients and physicians to their fast, efficient, no hassles approach to imaging. This brings additional hurdles to the already struggling hospitals.

The Sisters of St. Francis Health Services (SSFHS) group enlisted the aid of faculty at IUPUI to address issues within their organization. The objectives: improve the key performance indicators directly tied to patient and physician satisfaction, improve and streamline CT/MR processes, increase the capacity to perform CT/MR services, and regain a portion of the referral base lost to outpatient diagnostic centers. To address these issues, Lean/Six Sigma methodologies were implemented. Considerable success has been documented in the manufacturing industry using these models, but little has been done in the service-based industry of healthcare so an uncharted area was being entered.

Specially organized teams were created for the project within the hospital organization. Faculty experts provide education and training to these individuals in Lean/Six Sigma methodologies modified to fit healthcare services. The radiology project has been initiated and current results positively support the successful transferability of these manufacturing-originated methodologies into service-based applications. Modeling, simulations, and Cost/ROI of implementation projections for these projects are also being developed. These activities insure transportability of the models between hospitals so the benefit can be felt system-wide.


Hospitals understand where their revenue generating areas are. In most cases, these areas are surgery (especially orthopedic), cardiology/cardiovascular, and radiology. These areas are utilized to offset the losses incurred within other areas in the hospital to meet bottom line revenue goals. For St. Francis, a strong faith-based Catholic organization, meeting the bottom line must happen while fulfilling the mission to serve those in the community unable to pay. Unfortunately, for the mission-driven hospital organizations, the entrepreneurial world has also

Workman-Germann, J., & Woodward-Hagg, H. (2006, June), Implementing Lean Six Sigma Methodologies In The Radiology Department Of A Hospital Healthcare System Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1199

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