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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.

See what our clients can do! ↓↓↓

Our Clients Are Able To:

Improve their bottom line...

primarily through increasing revenue as opposed to slashing services

Maximize the number of patients served...

especially in areas where overhead is high and scheduling is challenging (e.g. Radiology, Clinics, OR)

Create win-win relationships with physicians

because the boat moves faster when everyone rows in the same direction.

Utilize a variety of process improvement methodologies...

to leverage new technology and streamline operations

Utilize data analytics...

to sift through the sea of operational data and unlock the keys to achieving your goals

Our Services

Orion would be proud to tap its vast performance improvement experience to help you achieve any or all of these goals.


Making Impactful Decisions with the Right Data

Health care organizations churn out an amazing amount of data and beautiful graphics. But does that 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:

  1. Measuring the right things,
  2. Working with reliable data, or
  3. Putting analytics results in the hands of the appropriate decision-makers in a 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 (sort of) 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 used less than 10% of its 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.

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Head with Gears

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.

Orion has delivered significant change management results. One large hospital had an environment of surgeons being fiercely (and sometimes irrationally) protective of their operating room space. Indeed, surgeons were in outright denial that their space was underutilized. Over time our team led the transformation to physicians enthusiastically taking more accountability for their own utilization. We knew we’d “made it” from a change perspective when a surgeon voluntarily gave up space to another service when asked, saying “I really don’t want to, but I know you wouldn’t ask if you didn’t really need it.”

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

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 a network of clinics 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 and enabled the hospital to perform 1,000 additional cases over a six-month period, with an 11% reduction in staffing cost.

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

Seminar Let’s Talk!

Star Ribbon

Redefining the Patient/Family Experience

Sometimes great medical care is not enough. Patients and their families face all manner of stresses. Even the smallest of these (parking, unclear paperwork, etc.) can leave a negative impression of your organization.


The key to transforming the patient experience and significantly improving satisfaction scores is to understand the end-to-end journey from the patient’s perspective… and that journey begins well before they arrive in your lobby.

At Orion, we’ve seen healthcare organizations make good faith efforts that only marginally improve the patient experience. To maximize impact, you must:

  • Define “personas” so you understand the varying needs of different types of patients/families.
  • Walk a mile in their shoes and get direct feedback from patients – don’t rely solely on surveys.
  • Define how the new process will work for your staff before investing in “breakthrough” technology.
  • Avoid the trap of believing that customer service training can overcome flawed processes or policies.
  • Understand the true “moments of truth” that have lasting impact on your reputation.

If you’ve been frustrated that your great medical care does not translate into abundant referrals or outstanding HCAHPS scores then give Orion a call.

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Ralph Smith

Practice Leader

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.


Mr. Smith specializes in data analytics, process redesign, and integrating strategy into day-to-day operations. Over the past 25 years, he has helped hospitals increase efficiency and quality of care by adapting and applying contemporary process improvement techniques.

Mr. Smith served on the Operating Room Executive Committee for Children’s Health Dallas from 2014-2018. In that capacity he was responsible for developing the analytics and processes to optimize case flow through the operating rooms. Changes made by the committee enabled the main OR to increase their case load by over 1,000 with a corresponding 11% reduction in staffing cost. His work in the MRI suite helped the hospital generate over $20,000 per day through increased utilization, while reducing the wait time to get an appointment from over six weeks to less than three days.

Additional health care clients include the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania (CHOP), Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, Beebe Healthcare, Hudson Valley Hospital, Muskogee Regional Medical Center, Evangelical Community Hospital, Kings Daughters Health System, Loudon Health System, and the Cobb County Department of Mental and Public Health. Mr. Smith was the primary trainer of Continuous Quality Improvement tools and techniques at Texas Children’s Hospital for almost a decade, and facilitated multiple projects to help them achieve dramatic gains in efficiency.

Other accomplishments health care clients have achieved include:

  • Increased block performance in the operating room by almost 30%
  • Developed new process for managing outpatient exam room space, increasing visit count by 2,000 patients per quarter in a “full” facility
  • Developed new measurement systems for the OR, diagnostic imaging, and the outpatient network to enable better management decisions
  • Performed data analytics work in interventional radiology; pinpointed the causes for inefficient patient turn
  • Drafted strategic plans on a hospital and departmental level

Mr. Smith has also facilitated strategic initiatives for an impressive array of clients in the private and not-for-profit sectors.

email Ralph

Success Stories

Since the 1990s Orion has supported a wide variety of healthcare providers, including rehab centers, medical and dental practices, outpatient centers, government health agencies, and hospitals of all sizes.  These satisfied clients include:

Aurora Healthcare Loudon Health System
BayCare Michigan Public Health Institute
Beebe Medical Center Muskogee Regional Medical Center
Boulder Community Hospital New Jersey Department of Health
Centura Health O’Brien Dental Labs
Children’s Health Dallas Overlake Hospital Medical Center
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Scripps Health
Cobb County Dept. of Public Health Shands Hospital
Evangelical Community Hospital Texas Children’s Hospital
Florida Department of Health Transitional Learning Center
Hill Physicians Medical Group VA Health Administration Center
Hudson Valley Hospital Virginia Department of Health
King’s Daughter’s Health System Wartburg Rehabilitative Care


Orion’s role in these projects typically includes a combination of training, coaching and analysis.  Rather than make your organization dependent on consultants, our job is to help your team become self-sufficient.

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.

OR Block Utilization

A few years ago, 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.

Treating the Business of Healthcare

Professional Development for Leaders and Managers

Healthcare organizations have faced multiple sea changes and public health crises over the last few years. 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 Healthcare Leadership series. Each module is 1-3 days in length but can be customized to meet the specific needs of your organization.  The four main modules are also available as open enrollment seminars, delivered live online.

Integrating Statistics and Experience to Drive Business Decisions
Data Analytics for Healthcare Leaders

Best Practices for Improving Satisfaction and HCAHPS Scores
Transforming the Patient Experience

Beyond Lean: Reducing Costs and Increasing Revenue
Process Optimization in Healthcare

Navigating Large Scale Changes in Operations and Culture
Executing Change in Healthcare

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’s Talk!

We’d love to explore the possibilities with you!

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