Date of Submission
Industrial and Systems Engineering
The WellStar Healthcare System provides world-class healthcare across 11 hospitals. One of those hospitals is Kennestone located in Marietta, GA. They are continuously implementing new technology to attend to their patients in the operation rooms (ORs). However, the hospital’s Sterile Processing Department has seen an increase of unused supplies being returned after surgeries are completed. This results in certain supplies not being placed back in inventory immediately or accounted for. Upon discovering these process inadequacies, WellStar requested a project group to analyze and present a solution for decreasing its rate of returned supplies, quantify the cost of the current processes, reduce waste, and present findings to key stakeholders at Kennestone. Data analytics and research was performed focused on exploring opportunities for optimization within the Kennestone Hospital Sterilization Process Department’s internal processes. Our findings from the research conducted revealed that the source of the excess waste of supplies was a combination of a lack of workforce, inadequate supply tracking system, workflow design layout. Our team developed a preposition comprised of three solution considerations that could address the above stated inefficiencies:
- Proposed Solution 1 – Temporary Hire
Outsource the task by hiring a worker dedicated specifically to the SPD’s inventory stocking through a Temp-Agency.
- Proposed Solution 2 – Retraining & SOP Implementation
Retraining current staff by implementing a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for pulling supplies from inventory.
- Proposed Solution 3 – SKU Integration
Utilizing software to develop an electronic binning system to allocate supplies according to need and type to digitalize inventory tracking of surgical supplies.
Once our data findings were collated, we concluded that the facility has the capacity of improving the process of inventorying surgical instruments and supplies. Our team applied 5S methods to quantify the parameters of the problems and Lean management methods in our approach to determining the right recommendation from proposed solutions. With the goal of effective cost mitigation by eliminating excess waste, we determined each solution to be viable. However, once all implementation factors were considered, it was determined that solution 1 would have the highest ease of implementation with instant return on value and least disruption in other operations at the Kennestone Hospital. Our final recommendation to the WellStar Kennestone Hospital is to implement solution 1. We made this recommendation considering these factors:
- Solution 1 would did not have drastic requirements for implementation like the other two solutions would require.
- Solution 2 would require more supervisory oversight and tasks being added to current staffing duties in order to tackle the accumulation of returned supplies by increasing accountability of personnel by associating supplies list with persons who pull supplies from inventory within the SPD.
- Solution 3 would require the development and implementation of dynamic software for the inventory tracking system.