A group of healthcare leaders from Saskatchewan, Canada, recently visited the United States to tour hospitals in Washington state and learn about the successful deployment of the Lean Six Sigma methodology to improve efficiency.

To see Lean Six Sigma principles in action, the 23 healthcare representatives toured Virginia Mason Medical Center and Seattle Children’s Hospital (SCH), among others. At SCH, the group saw how hospital officials used different-colored yarn to create visual maps that indicate congestion and inefficiencies in the flow of patients, staff, equipment and information.

The main reason for the trip was to educate healthcare officials about process improvement before the planned 2014 opening of a new Children’s Hospital in the town of Saskatoon, Canada. The new facility is planning on incorporating many similar Lean processes to eliminate waste.

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