Healthcare professionals from South Georgia Medical Center recently became some of the first in Georgia to obtain a professional certificate in lean healthcare from Georgia Tech. Assistant Administrator for Ancillary Services George Hardy, Assistant Administrator for Quality and Accreditation Kathy Hardy, Performance Improvement Manager Cynthia Manion and Clinical Nurse Leader Debra Baker were four of seven graduates to become certified in the four-month long educational process.Lean healthcare is a program that helps to address rising healthcare costs and improves overall patient care. Georgia Tech began offering the new professional certificate last fall. The program affords medical professionals such as physicians, nurses, quality mangers, laboratory personnel and healthcare executives to learn lean management principles – a set of tools derived mostly from the Toyota Production System widely used in manufacturing – to identify and eliminate waste from an organization’s operations.“In this era of decreasing reimbursements and increasing costs, lean methodology can ensure that health care organizations remain viable and safe,” said Richard Mitchell, M.D., medical director of Georgia Tech’s Healthcare Performance Group on the group’s website. “Obtaining certification as a lean practitioner can put you in a position to help lead your organization into the future.”Lean healthcare participants worked one-on-one with lean health care experts to discover lean principles through health care simulations, applied lean thinking to their organizations and began identifying areas of opportunity. The certificate program consisted of four courses: Lean Healthcare Introduction – A Case Study Review, How to Apply Lean Thinking to Healthcare Organizations, Applying Value Stream Mapping and A3 Problem-Solving Methods, and Turnover Time Reduction.“We will use the principles we learned to help us identify and eliminate waste in our facilities,” explained Kathy Hardy. “By completing the program, the four of us have a better understanding of how prevalent waste is in our organization. Now, we have tools to use to correct the problems.”For more information on the lean healthcare initiative, contact Community Relations at 229.259.4420.