Industrial Engineer Engineering and Management Solutions at Work

September 2012    |    Volume: 44    |    Number: 9

The member magazine of the Institute of Industrial and Engineers

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Care compression

A3 thinking and lean and Six Sigma tools successfully consolidate many healthcare laboratories into one 

By Cynthia L. Seaver

In 2007 the Spectrum Health healthcare system in Grand Rapids, Mich., was in the preliminary stages of a lean journey when leadership determined that the lab system had outgrown its physical locations. Spectrum Health had become the largest healthcare provider in West Michigan after a 1997 merger between Butterworth Hospital, Blodgett Hospital and Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital (located within Butterworth). Blodgett and Butterworth each had a major lab serving their inpatients and outpatients. Leaders decided to consolidate these labs into a new facility in downtown Grand Rapids. They believed the move would serve the region and best support the healthcare system’s future needs.

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