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Orion has had the privilege of working with hospitals and healthcare providers since our earliest days. We cut our teeth during the advent of CQI in the early 1990’s and stayed true to our goals of helping hospitals both improve care and realize better business outcomes…which in turn enables better patient care.  Even as consulting companies got caught up in fads (e.g. Six Sigma, Lean), Orion has kept its eye on the big picture.  Our clients are able to:

  • Improve their bottom line, primarily through increasing revenue as opposed to slashing services
  • Create win-win relationships with physicians
  • Utilize a variety of process improvement methodologies (including Lean) to redesign and streamline operations
  • Maximize the number of patients served, especially in areas where overhead is high and scheduling is challenging (e.g. Radiology, Outpatient Clinics, OR)
  • Utilize data analytics to sift through the sea of operational data and unlock the keys to performance improvement and change
Orion would be proud to tap its vast performance improvement experience to help you achieve any or all of these goals.

Making Good Decisions with the Right Data

Electronic healthcare management systems and data analytics programs churn out amazing amounts of data and beautiful graphics. But do they help you help you make the best management decisions for your patients, staff and bottom line?

Regardless of technology or analytics talent, effective decision making is impossible if you are not measuring the right things, if you do not have reliable data, or if analytics results are not being put in the hands of the appropriate decision-makers, in a format that is digestible.

At Orion, we’ve seen health care organizations stumble on all of the above.  For instance:

  • An outpatient center that had no mechanism for tracking providers who reserved exam room space and subsequently didn’t show up.
  • An MRI suite that was tracking patient in and out times in a hand-written notebook.
  • An operating room suite that purchased a six-figure system to track block and room utilization but only used 10% of the functionality.
  • A hospital with a crack technology staff that didn’t understand the business well enough to identify key business drivers for their leadership team.

If any of these situations sound familiar to you, give Orion a call. We have documented over $100 million in financial gain for various hospitals over the years though better management and utilization of data, and we’re ready to add to that total by serving you.

Implementing and Managing Change

Would you run a race without knowing where the finish line is? Probably not, since your approach to being successful in a short sprint would be very different than if you were running a marathon. At Orion we’ve found that many health care organizations hear “change management” and feel like it’s something they should be doing, but they can’t get their arms around what it means and what is involved.

We can change that. We’ll begin by helping you define what you want to change to. You want to be a patient-centric organization that is data-driven and has positive relationships with your physician group? (You’re not alone!) We’ll paint the finish line with you by defining what success will look like. Then we will work backwards to develop the specific action items needed to deliver the intended results. This involves dealing with issues like creating a sense of urgency, communication do’s and don’ts, and overcoming resistance.

We have demonstrated significant results in this area. One large operating room suite evolved from physicians being fiercely (and sometimes irrationally) protective of their blocked space to physicians being asked to give up space to another service and saying “I really don’t want to, but I know you wouldn’t ask if you didn’t really need it.” That same OR also changed from outright surgeon denial that their space was underutilized to surgeons being motivated not to be one of the low performers when the monthly results were displayed to all.

Change management can be done. Let us help drive it for you.

Serving More Patients via Improved Utilization

Few people would deny that there are multiple factors transforming the way health care organizations conduct business. Regulatory changes, advances in technology, evolving relationships with physicians, telemedicine, care management, and the ongoing drive to be more efficient put significant and increasing pressure on health care processes.

At Orion, processes are our business. We redesigned processes in an MRI suite that increased the utilization of three scanners by 30% while dropping the wait time to get an appointment from 6.5 weeks to under three days. We changed the pre-qualification process in an outpatient center to include “fast lane” diagnoses that improved patient experience by making it significantly easier to book many types of appointments.

But in today’s business world it isn’t all about redesign; sometimes brand new processes are needed. We’ve established processes for refilling space reserved for clinic visits that enabled a “full” outpatient center to increase their visit count by more than 600 patients per month. We established an auto-release process in the OR that helped open up space at peak times for surgeons with a case surplus that enabled the hospital to see 1,000 additional patients over a six-month period, with an 11% reduction in staffing cost.

Whether it’s creating something new or modifying what you already have, Orion has the experience and is ready to assist.

Achieving Performance Improvement Self-Sufficiency via Training

At Orion, our goal is not to simply help you solve today’s healthcare management challenges; we are committed to making your organization self-sufficient to handle future challenges. With a world-class professional development staff, Orion can train and coach a cadre of internal performance improvement experts. Skills we deliver can include:

Our experience training performance improvement experts reaches back to the days of CQI in the early 1990s. Let us bring that experience to bear to build your team.

Practice Leader – Ralph Smith

Ralph Smith is Vice President, Healthcare and Strategic Services for Orion Development Group.  He has personally supervised the performance improvement efforts in more than 100 organizations worldwide, including hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare organizations.

Over the past 20 years, Mr. Smith has helped hospitals increase efficiency and quality of care by adapting and applying contemporary process improvement techniques.  For example, in the 1990’s Ralph taught Continuous Quality Improvement techniques to a team of internal facilitators at Evangelical Community Hospital in Pennsylvania.  In the early 2000’s, he helped the quality improvement teams at Texas Children’s Hospital achieve dramatic gains in efficiency.  Currently, Mr. Smith is leveraging Lean Management techniques to enable both Children’s Medical Center of Dallas and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) to increase revenue via better utilization of resources.  Other healthcare and healthcare-related clients Ralph has served include the Cobb County Board of Health, Memorial Blood Center of Minnesota, BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois, Fairfax County Health Department and the VA Medical Center.

Mr. Smith is intimately familiar with strategic planning.  He is a recognized expert in this discipline and author of the highly rated text Business Process Management and the Balanced Scorecard. Ralph is uniquely qualified to help hospitals align process improvement efforts with the organization’s long-term strategy.

Mr. Smith is also a respected professional development instructor.  He has taught hundreds of professional development seminars for universities across the United States. He teaches healthcare process improvement for the University of Colorado College of Nursing, Michigan State University and the University of Delaware.  His ability to transfer skills and knowledge to healthcare staff is a critical asset.  Orion’s clients achieve self-sufficiency because Ralph and his team “teach your staff to fish.”

Mr. Smith has a Masters degree in Operations Research from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Bachelors degree in Mathematics and Statistics from the University of Georgia.

Below are two simple examples of how you can deliver real-world results by integrating statistics from a business intelligence system with simple process improvement tools and the knowledge/experience of your staff.

Success Story #1: MRI Wait Time and Capacity

The MRI unit at a major Children’s hospital found themselves in a situation where the numbers just didn’t add up. The main OR had three MRI machines that were running at an average monthly capacity of 58%, and yet there was a six week backlog to get scheduled for an image. There were many talented people in each of the relevant functions but a flawed process was leading to poor machine utilization and delays in patient care. Using simple Lean and Data Analytics techniques a project team generated a range of common sense solutions that impacted patient flow, scheduling, and cross functional communication. The double digit increase in capacity resulted in an annual gain of more than $2 million. The six-week patient backlog was slashed to one week. First case on-time start % has doubled.

Success Story #2: OR Block Utilization

In 2012, operating room block utilization in a local hospital had bottomed out at 54%, and there was confusion between the hospital and physicians over block allocation. A manual data entry and evaluation system hampered the ability to track performance and make good management decisions. Leveraging a collaborative hospital-physician partnership and newly acquired data analytics capability, a hospital team was able to remove more over 400 hours per month of non-productive block time from the schedule and evaluate adding more than $7 million in new surgeons/specialties to fill the newly-creates space. Given the expense of running an OR, both the cost savings and revenue enhancement opportunities are dramatic.

Orion’s role in these projects typically includes a combination of training, coaching and analysis.  Our job is to help your team become self-sufficient.

Treating the Business of Healthcare

Health care organizations have faced multiple sea changes over the last few years: ACA, EHR, ACOs, etc. Meanwhile, patient expectations continue to rise, technology continues to explode forward and the pressure to do more with less has never been greater. Addressing these tough business challenges is an unavoidable reality for healthcare leaders.

To help your hospital or practice meet these challenges, Orion Development Group has created the Treating the Business of Healthcare series. Each module is 1-3 days in length but can be customized to meet the specific needs of your organization.

Lean Healthcare

Transforming Processes to Maximize Patient Value

Mapping Strategy in Healthcare Organizations

How to Align Disparate Initiatives Toward the Common Goal

Data Analytics for Healthcare Leaders

Integrating Statistics and Experience to Drive Your Healthcare Business Decisions

Transforming the Patient Experience

How to Improve Relationships and Patient Satisfaction

Creating Networks of Care

Integrating Operations to Efficiently Serve Your Population’s Needs

Process Optimization in Healthcare

Beyond Lean: Reducing Costs and Increasing Revenue via RPI®

Executing Change in Healthcare

Setting the Stage for Large Scale Changes in Operations and Culture

These skills can also be delivered as a consulting engagement applied to real projects. For more information, email Margaret Powers or call her at (800) 510-2117.

Let Orion help you overcome today’s healthcare business challenges.
Call Margaret Powers today at (800) 510-2117.

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