A Dallas-based healthcare company recently announced it has become a Six Sigma-accredited organization, with more than 500 of its employees voluntarily taking classes to earn certification in the methodology.

Intrepid USA specializes in providing home healthcare and independent living support services. They deliver personalized, patient and family-centered concierge-style medical home healthcare, hospice and private duty homecare.

The company, in a news release, said it is the 10th largest such service in the country. It has more than 2,000 employees and operates in 20 states.

The company began implementing Six Sigma as a way to get an edge in a competitive industry.

The results have been swift and spectacular. Started in the fall of 2017, the initiative to incorporate the strategies, tools and techniques of Lean and Six Sigma have resulted in some programs offered by the company improving efficiency by as much as 300%.

Culture Change

While the technical and practical benefits of Lean and Six Sigma are frequently discussed, the change in culture at organizations that adopt the methodology is one of the most significant impacts.

At Intrepid USA, company executives found that employee engagement increased as the methodology took hold. It has led to culture that is more forward-thinking. That’s something that employees want to participate in.

Jonathan Fluhart, the company’s Senior Director of Technology & Process Excellence, said in the release that implementing Six Sigma training, “has quickly ushered in a shift in culture that normally might take years. By offering a Six Sigma certification path to all full-time employees, we have given them the knowledge, tools and ability to bring positive change to their work environment.”

Fluhart emphasized that such cultural change benefits the employees, the organization and, most importantly, the company’s patients.

Continuous Learning

The success at Intrepid USA can be seen with other companies.

In some cases, a culture change in healthcare can lead to saving lives. Kathy Gallo, chief learning officer at Norwell Health, began as a trauma nurse who later became an instructor, teaching Six Sigma training to employees. Now, she has overseen a program that instills more collaboration with medical professionals and simulation training that helps staff prepare for emergency medical situations.

The goal is to eliminate errors under such emergency circumstances – a change that can save lives.

The overall idea behind the culture change is to become an operation where learning is emphasized, Michael Dowling, the Norwell CEO who hired Gallo, told Chief Learning Officer.  He said that “I have always believed in the importance of creating a culture of continuous learning. If you don’t, you will get left behind.”

One of the main goals of Lean and Six Sigma is to create a culture where learning and process improvement are continuous. That allows Six Sigma and other process improvement skills to be applied in the most productive way over an extended period of time.

Companies such as Intrepid USA and Norwell Health are seeing the benefits of such a culture change.

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