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Navicent Health Improves COVID-19 Lab Testing through Lean Six Sigma

Study Published in ISE Magazine's July Issue

ISE Magazine has included in its July issue a study entitled "Tackling COVID-19 Lab Testing Delays with Lean Six Sigma" by Casey Bedgood, certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and Accreditation Optimization Officer for Atrium Health Navicent. The study examines the benefits of applying the principles of Lean Six Sigma, when faced with disruptions such as a global pandemic, in order to improve efficiency while meeting consumer needs.

"Disruptions such as COVID-19 require leaders to think differently, create new ways of doing business quickly, break from old traditions without excuse and accelerate changes that usually fester for long periods of time without outside influence. At times, even negative situations can elicit positive change for the benefit of consumers," said Bedgood.

At the outset of the pandemic, testing turnaround times were an issue nationwide. By utilizing Six Sigma principles to create more efficient testing processes, by implementing innovative ideas including a system tracker and a 24/7 call center, Atrium Health Navicent was able to decrease test turnaround time delays by 30 hours per test. Atrium Health Navicent also partnered with outside labs and nonprofit organization Angel Flight Soars to fly tests to labs for testing until the health system purchased in house testing equipment dedicated to COVID-19. Through increased efficiency and innovation, Atrium Health Navicent has been able to ensure timely test results for patients, providing greater peace of mind, and faster access to treatment for positive patients. The increased efficiency has also benefited healthcare providers by reducing staff exposure to COVID-19, reducing physical risk and improving mental psyche.

"Efforts such as these are core to the work we are doing at Atrium Health Navicent, particularly as we rise to the challenges created by a global pandemic, and will be critical in helping our health system - as well as many others nationwide - prepare for future relevance and value-based care," said Michael Hajworonsky, Atrium Health Navicent's Vice President of Clinical Support Services, including laboratory services.

To view Bedgood's article, please click here. ISE Magazine is a monthly publication of the Institute of Industrial and System Engineers and serves a diverse readership of professionals and students with a common interest of industrial engineering. As a leading voice in the industry, ISE Magazine strives to provide useful, timely and thought-provoking content to assist readers as they enhance their professional capabilities, improve organizational performance and develop the profession.

"Lean Six Sigma is applicable to global industries ranging from auto manufacturing and defense to healthcare. The unique aspect of Lean Six Sigma in healthcare is that process improvement directly improves people's health and wellbeing. The thought leaders at Atrium Health Navicent are continually seeking new avenues for implementation as we improve our processes," said Bedgood.

Atrium Health Navicent implemented Lean/Six Sigma, a highly disciplined, data-driven approach and methodology for eliminating waste, improving outcomes, and delivering extraordinary service, in 2014. Bedgood was the first Black Belt trained under the Atrium Health Navicent program.

About Atrium Health Navicent

Atrium Health Navicent was incorporated on November 17, 1994, as a nonprofit corporation whose primary purpose is to coordinate The Medical Center, Navicent Health and other affiliated entities in their mission of providing a comprehensive continuum of high quality, reasonably priced healthcare services to the region. Atrium Health Navicent has 970 beds for medical, surgical, rehabilitation and hospice purposes. The health system includes The Medical Center, Navicent Health, a nationally recognized tertiary teaching hospital; Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children's Hospital, the region's only dedicated pediatric hospital; Atrium Health Navicent Baldwin and Medical Center of Peach County, Atrium Health Navicent, both rural critical access hospitals; Rehabilitation Hospital, Atrium Health Navicent, the region's oldest and most experienced rehabilitation provider; Pine Pointe, Atrium Health Navicent, which provides palliative and hospice care in homes and in its facility; Carlyle Place, Atrium Health Navicent, the area's first continuing care retirement community; Navicent Health Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Atrium Health Navicent; as well as diagnostic and home care services. For more information, please visit