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Using Six Sigma to improve the bottom line

Barb Cash presents a case study that examined how an integrated informatics system helped improve contractual reimbursements at Deaconess.

"Deaconess Health System... had a large backlog of accounts that had triggered contract variance records in their billing system, but for which the variances remained unresolved. Appropriate follow-up with the contracted payers could result in increased revenue for the hospital system, which implemented a lean Six Sigma project to improve contractual reimbursements.

The Deaconess lean Six Sigma team followed the DMAIC method (define, measure and analyze, improve, and control), with heavy influence from lean in the improvement phase. The health system collected more than $500,000 in the first seven months. Building on the success of the contract variance project, subsequent revenue cycle improvement projects were completed in shorter time frames with significant financial return."

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