5 Steps to Streamlined Registrations – Part 3 of 5
Step 3 – Plan, Do, Check, and Act
LEAN shares a great concept with Agile software engineering: a series of smaller, easier to plan and implement projects is more effective than a single large, complicated and deeply planned project. LEAN refers to these small iterative improvement projects as “kaizen events”; Agile calls them sprints, cycles or iterations.
Rather than feeling pressured to choose between a large single project or a series of smaller sprints consider the following. Use your business case to create your overall implementation strategy. This is your compass that will keep you on course. Your implementation strategy defines your objectives and describes your strategy for realizing them. Think of your implementation strategy as your master plan with a lot of details “to be determined”.
Now, combining your overall implementation strategy with your learnings from your current and future state development you are in a great position to try your iteration (kaisen event, or small change project). Does this mean you need your technical solution for your future state? No. Although your future state will require new technology, system changes, and installation of new hardware, you do not need it to perform your first tests. To test if your future state/process even makes sense have people stand in for technology and use volunteers for patients.
After manually running through your future state does it make sense? Did you have to make any changes? If you like what you’ve discovered then it is time to move to a true implementation of your new, streamlined process.
Each technical implementation will vary depending on a variety of factors: 1) your existing systems and their openness, 2) the availability of your internal IT departments, and 3) flexibility of the new vendors you are bringing into the process. Your ideal vendors are ones that understand the agile nature of your process and will be able to partner with you in your series of iterative improvements (“kaizen events”).
Through out this process look for performance indicators you can measure. Initially these measurements may be performed manually by members of your team. Over time your technology solution will be capturing these measurements for you. What types of measurements can you identify? Here are a few ideas:
• Time spent waiting for a registrar
• Time spent with a registrar for new registrations
• Time spent with a registrar for repeat visits
• Number of patients on the wrong day
• Number of patients early or late for appointments
• Number of staff interruptions by patients needing directions • Staff and patient satisfaction
• Insurance denials due to data quality
• Payment collection