By Adam Spieker

Last month a cross-functional Lean team was formed to analyze the end-of-day balancing process for on-campus clinics. The objective was to align the current process with the future Epic functionality, eliminate waste, and improve efficiency, accuracy and internal controls.
The LEAN program promotes the philosophy of kaizen, a Japanese word for “improvement” that describes the methodic study and improvement of manufacturing and business-management processes.
The team received education in the Lean improvement methodology along with the tools that would be utilized during the event.
Led by Cindy Barrs, cash receipting/bursar manager, the team mapped out the current process, identified improvement opportunities, received an epic demonstration of the end-of-day balancing process, performed a gap analysis and mapped out the proposed future process.
The team developed an excel document that mimics the Epic end-of-day balancing module. The benefits of the form included: auto-calculation of the payments received throughout the day, reconciles the manually entered data against the Invision data, and contains a QA tool to improve accuracy.
The process was piloted on the 4th floor UHC and then implemented campus-wide. The results so far have been positive, both for the clinics as well as for the Cash Receipting Team.
Improvements realized from this Lean project included a 50 percent reduction in paper being sent to the Cash Receipting office (potential annualized savings of nearly $5,000); 25 percent reduction in the amount of time it takes the Cash Receipting department to process a bag; employee excitement about Lean, and the streamlined and user-friendly UTMB Connect Epic modules.
This past week the team held a lean event to take a look at the mainland clinics end-of-day balancing process. The mainland clinic team followed the same Lean methodology as the on-campus team. Since mainland clinics take their deposits to the bank, the process the team developed is slightly different then the process designed by the on-campus team. Similar results to the on-campus lean event are anticipated.
The origin of LEAN often is traced back in history to Ford Motor Co.’s adoption of the assembly line. Toyota Motor Corp. later used and perfected LEAN techniques under varying names such as kaizen, Toyota Production System, Just In Time, and Continuous Flow. Manufacturers originally created the LEAN principles, but they have also been applied in service industries such as health care.