Lean in success

Friday, January 24, 2014

“Lean management” is a phrase oft-used in businesses across sizes and industries, but it’s more than just a buzzword. Rather, going lean takes a from-the-top commitment to analyzing each of your processes and eliminating waste wherever you find it. Done right, a commitment to lean principles can put even a struggling business on the road to profitability, says Cape Medical Supply’s Gary Sheehan, who will speak on the subject at Medtrade Spring. Here’s a sneak peek.

HME News: How widespread is adoption of lean in HME?

Gary Sheehan: Most owners have at least heard about it. Some people say they tried it and it didn’t work, but that’s usually because they didn’t fully commit to it. It’s not just a set of tools you can employ and the results roll in. It’s a true cultural change.

HME: What’s an example of a lean success you’ve experienced?

Sheehan: I’ll be sharing some specific initiatives around cycle times in sleep therapy patients—how long it takes to set them up and how they move through intake, prior authorization, scheduling and set-up. I’ll talk about how we monitor referral sources and what percentages are complete. That’s what dictates a lot of your cycle time. 

HME: What’s been challenging?

Sheehan: The struggles have been around people. They say, “I don’t have time for this,” or, “There are too many meetings.” If you don’t have the time to fix the way you do your job, how do you find time to continue to do it the wrong way?

HME: Can this save even a struggling business?

Sheehan: It has revitalized our organization and accelerated our growth curve. It’s given us metrics we can use to show how we do things better than other companies. That gets the flywheel going. You will win more business that way.