| Navy Medicine West Leaders Earn Their Green Belts

By Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class John O'Neill Herrera, Naval Medical Center San Diego Public Affairs


SAN DIEGO -Naval Medicine West (NMW) held a Lean Six Sigma (LSS) green belt course and graduation for NMW leaders at Navy Environmental and Preventive Medicine Unit 5 (NEPMU-5), Naval Base San Diego Dec. 2.


LSS is a program that provides personnel the tools to evaluate processes and make improvements in customer service, patient care, completion mission and daily tasks at their commands by eliminating waste, while decreasing variation and opportunity for errors. LSS is a robust program with a roadmap that directs improvement teams to achieve their goals and sustain them while reducing costs due to rework and inefficiencies.


Twenty-seven medical providers, technicians and administrators from all over NMW commands took part of the five day course.


"This course makes you look at things differently so instead of looking at the things you do every day in the normal workflow, you are going to step back from it and look at it from a different perspective," said green belt graduate Cmdr. Robert Kregci, Ambulatory Procedures Unit (APU) Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) Department Head, Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton. "You are going to put yourself in the customer's position and put yourself in the staff's position, and you are going to get more feedback that you normally wouldn't, which is going to help you see things and hopefully improve things."


During the course, students learned basic elements of statistics needed to implement LSS. Students also worked in different workshops where they discussed ways of enhancing workflows and health care approaches; including variation to improve quality, analyzing customer feedback and improving processes.


Graduates are expected to return to their commands and work with their senior executive team in order to identify both clinical and administrative areas within their commands that need to be improved.


"I'm going to look at the processes that I do in my job and eliminate all the steps that I don't necessarily need to take and also to re-write standard operating procedures," said green belt graduate Hospital Corpsman 1st Class George Odom, Naval Medical Research Center, Command Senior Enlisted Leader. "One of the things I realized throughout the class is that I have to create two labs a 'ready to go' lab and a 'training' lab. I'm using my supplies in my lab faster than I need to. If I get deployed I have to re-supply the lab I've been using for training."


The LSS program was directed by the Secretary of the Navy May 16th, 2006 in a memorandum stating LSS will continue as a primary enabler by which the Department of the Navy will achieve the Secretary of Defense's efficiency initiatives, approximately $42 billion over the Future Years Defense Plan.


The Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery began using Lean Six Sigma in 2006 to help improve Navy medicine and patient care. To date NMW has 356 green belts, 93 with of those assigned to NMCSD. NMCSD will hold two green belt classes in 2012 scheduled for May and October.


For more news from Naval Medical Center San Diego, visit http://www.med.navy.mil/sites/nmcsd/.