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Mark A. Watson Center for Operational Excellence

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In 2008, Akron Children's Hospital created the Mark A. Watson Center for Operational Excellence, which uses Lean Six Sigma principles to improve quality of care and organizational processes.

Our staff development program and Lean Six Sigma initiatives are key to our ability to enhance our patient experience, improve our working environment and continue delivering quality healthcare in a timely, efficient manner.

Since its creation, Akron Children's Center for Operational Excellence has trained hundreds of employees and worked with hospital staff on initiatives that have:

  • Generated savings of nearly $13.4 million
  • Reduced patient wait times by more than 48,000 days
  • Cut non-value-added staff time by more than 41,000 hours

Our lean initiatives have proven so successful that other healthcare organizations have joined us to learn about our program, and a number of publications have featured our efforts.

About Lean Six Sigma

Lean Six Sigma is a business philosophy developed by the manufacturing industry to improve systems, reduce waste and enhance quality. The methodology has also proven valuable for healthcare organizations such as Akron Children's.

We use Lean Six Sigma concepts throughout the hospital to better understand issues and implement countermeasures so we can deliver healthcare as effectively as possible.

Through continuous improvement, Lean Six Sigma at Akron Children's improves patient outcomes and financial performance.

With patient-focused processes, we:

  • Enhance the quality of patient care
  • Amplify the voice of patients and families
  • Develop a culture that promotes continuous improvement
  • Cultivate strong leadership
  • Improve business operations

Lean Six Sigma achieves these benefits by:

  • Empowering employees to bring about change
  • Fostering two-way communication between leadership and front-line staff
  • Supporting the hospital's strategic growth initiatives
  • Streamlining services, creating cost savings and increasing capacity through improved utilization of resources (i.e., beds, equipment and staff)
  • Eliminating activities that don't add value to the patient experience, allowing us to focus on delivering the best care