University of South Florida

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a group of people pose after being awarded with their lean six sigma certification

Tampa General Hospital Cancer Institute Enhances Operational Efficiency with Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt Training

Thirty-five members of Tampa General Hospital’s Cancer Institute gathered at the USF Health Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation to get an introduction to Lean Six Sigma through the Yellow Belt Certification

Tampa General Hospital employs more than 8,000 full-time team members, making it one of the area’s largest employers. TGH facilities are located throughout West Central Florida, serving a dozen counties and more than six million people. With centers dedicated to treating everything from lung cancer to breast cancer, TGH is dedicated to advanced levels of testing, research, and treatment to create a personalized plan of care for every patient. The Cancer Institute’s team includes physicians, oncologists, radiologists, surgeons, nurses, pathologists, geneticists, and other healthcare professionals. 

Through the Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt Certification, employees of TGH Cancer Institute and the Cancer Center of South Florida developed an understanding of how to use basic Lean Six Sigma tools, such as brainstorming, the DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) process, problem statement development, and Poka-Yoke (mistake-proofing).  The team members also learned to work with green and black belts, communicate with others about the methodology, and provide evidence-based feedback for pilots and testing. 

At first glance, Lean Six Sigma programs may appear to be catered to manufacturing and related fields, but the lessons learned can be applied to any industry – including healthcare, healthcare technology, and cancer patient care.

a class sits and listens to a presenter

“I try to bring outside examples and focus on some of the specific challenges that organizations face to get a balance of both sides,” said course instructor Ian Briggs. “The issues experienced in business, whether medical, IT, telecommunications, or sports and fitness, are often very similar. You can apply these principles in manufacturing, the service delivery industry, and even at home.”

The beauty of USF’s Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt Certification is that it’s practical. Instead of simply looking through PowerPoint slides and taking an exam, students can put the tools they learn to use during the classes, in their work, and their personal lives. 

For example, the TGH team was tasked with identifying the stakeholders involved in creating a thin-crust pepperoni pizza. While pizza making has nothing to do with the medical field, exercises like this help people start thinking outside of the bubble of their organization.

While this is the first course that Tampa General Hospital’s team has completed through Corporate Training and Professional Education, the partnership between TGH and USF extends back to the early 1970s, when the Morsani College of Medicine was created. To this day, USF medical students, nurses, and physical therapy students all receive training at Tampa General. TGH employees at all levels are able to take courses and gain valuable business skills through the People Development Institute, a partnership with the Muma College of Business. This latest partnership with Corporate Training and Professional Education is a testament to TGH’s focus on providing professional growth opportunities for its employees and fostering a culture of continuous improvement.

“I hope they’re able to look at things through a different lens,” said TGH Vice President of Oncology Operations Michael Silver. “Most leaders look at things in one way. I want them to be able to take a step back. They have a standardized understanding, but I want them to learn more about the business process.”

One of TGH Cancer Institute’s primary goals is improving patient accessibility. One way that it hopes to do this is through single-call resolution for patients. By implementing the Lean Six Sigma strategies learned in the course, TGH employees can streamline their communication processes and create greater customer satisfaction. 

“We want to look at things holistically,” said Silver. “Patients need us to be subject-matter-experts. We want to make things more seamless.”

Beyond process improvement courses, USF CTPE offers an array of programs to give organizations in every industry the opportunity to excel. From the Project Management Certificate to the SHRM Essentials of Human Resources course to the USF Design Thinking Certification, there are plenty of options to suit your team’s goals. 

“Tampa General’s partnership with Corporate Training and Professional Education is just one example of the many ways that organizations can collaborate with USF to create custom training programs,” said David Hill, associate director of CTPE. “In the past two years, we have worked with 35 different organizations, providing training to over 1,100 participants.”

Those interested in exploring customized training opportunities should contact David Hill at (813) 974-4682 or  

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About Corporate Training and Professional Education

USF Corporate Training and Professional Education empowers people to craft their future without limits through engaging professional growth learning and certification programs. Its programs focus on an array of topics – human resources, project management, paralegal, process improvement, leadership skills, technology, and much more.