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Why is Healthcare so snobby?

Six Sigma – iSixSigma Forums Old Forums Healthcare Why is Healthcare so snobby?

  • This topic has 18 replies, 9 voices, and was last updated 13 years ago by DLW.
Viewing 19 posts - 1 through 19 (of 19 total)
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  • #25695

    Tex
    Member

    I am sorry, but I have to ask this.  Why does the healthcare industry insist that someone have years and years of healthcare experience before they will even consider someone for a BB or MBB position?  I am absolutely floored that I cannot get one healthcare company to consider hiring me in a Quality position when my expertise is actually in Quality and Process Improvement.  In fact, I am so passionate about Quality in Healthcare that I research the issue on my own time. 
    Every time I even get contacted by someone in healthcare, I get the exact same response – “We are looking for someone who has substantial healthcare experience.”  Can any of you give me the reason for this?  Is this typical? 
    Any insights are greatly appreciated.

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    #62129

    Windy in the West
    Member

    I don’t think “snobby” is quite right; we would say “careful”.  Even though hospitals have departments with that label, in healthcare “quality” is not a separate category from everything else we do.  And what we do is all about people: our patients, their families, and our staff. Our Process Improvement projects don’t affect the specification tolerances of widgets; they often affect people’s life and death.  No, that’s not an exaggeration. We want to be sure our facilitators know that, and preferrably, have had that sort of experience so they know the right questions to ask. Those questions always should focus on the “who” and “how” of the process and how it affects the patient.
    You might volunteer for a while in a health care setting. That exposure would add to your possibilities with us careful folks.

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    #62130

    Tex
    Member

    Thanks for your response Windy.  LOL, I didn’t mean anything judgemental by saying “snobby’, in fact, my father, who is a doctor, is the one who actually said that about healthcare.
    I appreciate the idea about volunteering.  I actually have volunteered at a hospital and worked in two doctor’s offices, but that doesn’t seem to make much difference either. 
    The reason I am passionate about this is that my father almost died because of the healthcare system and if my stepmother (who is a hospital administrator) hadn’t worked in Cardiology in the past, she wouldn’t have noticed the mistake that was made.
    Anyway, it would be nice if someone in healthcare would give some of us transactional Black Belts a chance. 
     

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    #62132

    Nolan
    Participant

    Tex, I agree. While what Windy says may well be true for some in the industry, it has not been my experience. I’ve seen people building auto dash panels that seem more interested in their work than healthcare personnel – floor personnel that is. Floor nurse loads, poor pay and unreasonable expectations of them has led to some real attitude problems which leads to real performance problems. This is a scary industry with no clear path to improvement.

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    #62133

    BritW
    Participant

    Sorry about your tries so far – the barriers you have faced are real, I’m sure, but I haven’t experienced that, personally.  I came from manufacturing and consulting and secured a position right away.  I suggest you look to those healthcare orgs that are presenting at healthcare and other conferences and ones that post here regularly.  I don’t currently have any openings, but there are a lot of hospitals out there who are into Six Sigma and Lean and could use a good performer.
    That being said – it is necessary to have a healthcare knowledge base before entering into a leadership position like a BB or MBB. You should play up your volunteer experience to ensure those looking at the resume don’t immediatey toss it in lieu of a competitor who has his/her experience listed right at the top. 

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    #62134

    Lean Sigma Gypsy
    Participant

    Tex,
    I came to healthcare a year ago with only an industrial MBB background and I have met MANY individuals with the same profile at the Lean Sigma conferences that I have been to…  Either you are just applying to the wrong (i.e. “snobby”) institutions, or there may be something in your paperwork or phone screen that is scaring them off…  They are often a formal suit & tie, academic, listen before you talk, kind of group…  showing TOO much passion for the opportunity might not be the best first impression to give them…
    Good luck!

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    #62135

    Tex
    Member

    These are great comments.  I appreciate the ideas.  I will try to look into companies that work with healthcare orgs.  Also, I never considered that showing passion would scare them off (that’s interesting) so I will take that advice to heart as well. 
    Would getting MBB certified help?  I would take the Lean Six Sigma courses for healthcare but I would essentially be taking my Black Belt training all over again.

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    #62136

    Lean Sigma Gypsy
    Participant

    Healthcare Lean Sigma Certification wouldn’t hurt your effort, but I would recommend getting it from a Heathcare institution (hospital, Med school, etc.).  Folks like ASQ have “LS Healthcare Training”, but their certifcation is a generic GB or BB and they are NOT healthcare…  If any of the employers who you are targeting are indeed “snobby”, then they are going to give more weight to the healthcare credentials of your certifying body…
    Good luck!

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    #62141

    howe
    Participant

    I feel the pain about looking for a healthcrae quality job, but I am on the other end of the spectrum. I have 8 years of healthcare experience and am now a Physician Assistant with a masters. I am Healthcare GB and have an additional Lean Certificate but do not have years of experience with quality. My problem has been getting someone to give me a chance on a quality/process improvement team. I have informally run kaizen events in my current administrative position but they are all wanting BB and MBB. Any idea on how to make this work or where to get some mor experience?

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    #62142

    Tex
    Member

    Mike,
    Are you saying that you are a certified GB with a Lean certificate and you want to run a GB project or be on a BB project as a GB/team member? 

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    #62143

    howe
    Participant

    Tex,
    I have not taken and certification exams, just the classes. I have taken both the GB and Lean. To be honest , what I was actually looking for was to be part of a performance improvement team at a hospital utilizing my clinical knowledge along with my six sigma training. I am looking to move away from clinical practice and into a full time PI position. My current facility does not utilize SS or Lean and has no upper management buy-in.

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    #62145

    Sinnicks
    Participant

    I am a chief operating officer with twenty years experience in hospitals.  I can answer your question.  When hospitals are looking for quality managers, such positions are responsible for many other things besides quality control in the terms you are thinking.  Most quality managers in hospitals are also responsible for overseeing the triennial accreditation process.  Are you intimately familiar with Medicare Conditions of Participation and the Joint Commissions standards for hospitals?  Most quality managers in hospitals are responsible for managing the peer review process for the affiliated physician organization (“the medical staff”) and for internal operations.  Do you know the state peer review laws for hospitals in the state you live?  Do you have experience working with trial attorneys, both on the plaintiff and defendant sides?  That is what quality managers also do.  Have you ever mediated a dispute between a patient and a hospital, to prevent a lawsuit from happening?  Have you ever met with a grieving family after an unfortunate outcome in the operating room?  That is what quality managers actually do in hospitals, not just process control.  If you need more information, just shoot me an email at marknorrell(at)cox.net

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    #62146

    Tex
    Member

    Mark,
    Thank you for your response.  That is very helpful information.  Sometimes I do see positions that involve the duties you are describing and I understand that it would take more than a Six Sigma background to adequately fill that role.  It is interesting to hear all that is involved and that makes sense to me.
    I guess I am also interested in knowing why it is difficult to obtain a BB or MBB role in Healthcare – even if it is not the Quality leader.
    All of the information people are providing here is valuable to understanding what I am up against.  Many thanks.

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    #62147

    Tex
    Member

    Mike,
    If your current facility does not employ SS and does not have upper management support, you have a very difficult situation to overcome.  If you want to be part of a process improvement team, you would usually do so because your company has decided to deploy Lean and/or SS and you could either be a GB or a project SME.  Of course if you have a supportive manager, you could launch an improvement project of your own despite the absence of a formal program but if you want formal certification you will need to do a project that has gone through the tollgates and is recognized by a certifiying body (i.e. training consulting firm, your company, etc.).  Maybe find a place to work that has an established process improvement program?  That sounds drastic but if you want to move into a PI role, you will need that infrastructure and senior management support.
     

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    #62149

    howe
    Participant

    Tex,
    Thank you very much for the advice. That is what I had been thinking. I am just now starting to look elsewhere. I am trying to find a place that will work with me to develop my formal SS/Lean skill while I utilize my clinical knowldge to help from that side. Good luck in your search.
    Mike

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    #62154

    Arnaiz
    Participant

    This is an interesting point. Healthcare isn’t snobby, but it is protective. In the past there have been, at most hospitals, consultants brought in to help with various situations. If they were from outside of healthcare, there would be a substantial learning curve to ‘teach’ that person how things worked. Ultimately, the ‘solutions’ that were designed by these outsiders were ineffective.
    The interesting point is that people in healthcare don’t understand Six Sigma. If they did, they would understand that Six Sigma is a process used by those with the knowledge and skills to find new solutions to old problems. When asked about healthcare experience, the Black Belt can respond by saying that all the experience they need lies in the people at the organization. The Black Belt guides the healthcare experts through the Six Sigma process.

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    #62155

    DLW
    Participant

    Such a response certainly is valid and reasonable, and it can very
    well be all the assurance needed by some healthcare
    administrators — especially as impressive outcomes begin to
    result. In earlier years, when the principles of Lean and Six Sigma
    were becoming “translated” into healthcare, there actually was
    perceived value in bringing in resources with expertise in the
    traditional manufacturing sector. But now that Lean and Six Sigma
    have become more widely adopted in healthcare, it is my
    perception that this has changed.Just as with any other business or industry, healthcare has its own
    acronyms, shorthand, priorities, constraints, regulations, etc. An
    otherwise qualified professional becomes even more valuable if
    s/he knows, for example, what a JCAHO inspection entails; how
    Medicare reimbursement works (or doesn’t); what are some of the
    socioeconomic reasons why indigent patients may overuse the E.R.
    or may not keep a scheduled appointment; why physicians might
    balk at the idea of a patient being viewed as “inventory”.As I say, i agree with your statements. But reality can be harsh. And
    the reality IMHO is that a resource experienced in medical
    products or a healthcare environment, or at least able to
    demonstrate a solid working knowledge of same, will be perceived
    more favorably, and in fact in many instances should be able to
    provide training and implementation assistance more efficiently,
    and with somewhat more credibility.
    DLW – BPEX

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    #62156

    Tex
    Member

    I agree with all of your responses.  In the few interviews I have gotten with Healthcare companies, I have said that my expertise was in knowing the methodology and leading the SMEs, who are working in the process day in and day out, to the solution.  I also said that data would tell me where to focus.  That response went nowhere.
    I guess I am wondering if this needing to be an industry SME is more rigid in Healthcare versus other industries.  I work in Financial Services where we have tons of acronyms for Credit Card, Mortgage, Equity, etc. products and processes, but I learned it quickly and relied on the knowledge experts on my project teams.  I know the right questions to ask, what process to follow, how to facilitate groups, how to analyze the data, how to put together a VOC, etc.
    The conundrum of how do you get experience when no one will give you the opportunity to get experience seems to be more applicable in Healthcare.  So, I assuming that Healthcare is saying that their processes are more difficult to understand than say a mortgage-backed security or making an automobile??  Therefore, all Black Belts and MBBs should be people who work in that healthcare facility and are trained internally rather than bringing in a BB from the outside?
    Perhaps another way of saying it is the perception is that the learning curve for learning the industry is longer than the learning curve for becoming a Black Belt.  My experience is that when you use SMEs as project team members, you run the risk of repeating the same mistakes.  Yes, they know the industry and the company backwards and forwards, but many times they cannot take themselves out of the problem enough to provide the most creative solutions.
    I know, reality is what it is.  But my nature is to want to change it….I guess that is why I am a Black Belt to begin with!

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    #62158

    DLW
    Participant

    You make good points.
    (There was a similar thread on this site’s main forum a few weeks
    ago, but I cannot seem to find it now.)
    A couple thoughts:
    1. Just as with nearly everything else, having a contact within the
    industry can be a tremendous door-opener.
    2. Offering your BB services initially on a volunteer basis initially (if
    you have the time and flexibility) usually is well-received and
    appreciated, since may healthcare organizations are non-profit.
    Particularly for an organization that may be in the early stages of a
    formal PI program, you could be a welcome mentor. It is amazing
    how much more attractive a resource looks to someone who
    doesn’t have to pay for it. Sad… But it can be a way to establish
    credibility and value, especially if you are a quick-study.
    Good luck.
    DLW BPEX

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