Global Healthcare Provider Taps Canon for Process Improvements
Canon Helps Solve Hospitals' Mailroom and Document Challenges
We first met with our client, a multibillion-dollar global integrated health enterprise, to discuss ways to improve its document management processes. The healthcare provider operates 20 hospitals and 400 outpatient sites while employing 3,200 physicians. More efficient document processes—the kind we could implement through our Six Sigma-based methodologies—would help the entire operation run more smoothly.
At the outset of our relationship with the healthcare provider, our task was to improve the mail management system, which then involved over 10 separate mailroom operations managed by separate vendors. Because each mailroom operated separately, mail got lost or delayed, and costs went up.
We worked with the hospitals to consolidate the mailrooms into a centralized “hub and spoke” model, dedicating a single location for receiving and distributing mail. We managed each step of the process, lowering the costs once associated with managing multiple vendors.
In fact, the hospitals significantly reduced mailroom expenses the first year. “Above and beyond significant cost savings, Canon’s automated production, print, and mail workflow solution enables our organization to improve quality assurance and compliance with regulatory requirements,” noted the healthcare provider’s director of internal audit operations.
But our relationship with our client was just beginning. Canon is a comprehensive partner for our clients, focused on providing innovative document management solutions. When the healthcare provider experienced further operational issues, we looked for ways to help make even more improvements.
In the second year we addressed the healthcare provider’s transportation logistics program. Previously, sixteen separate couriers operated within the hospital network to pick up and deliver biopharmaceutical items, creating a costly, difficult-to-track web of routes. We consolidated the program into one centralized courier operation, with 55 vehicles making a total of 2,000 stops each day. In the first year, we helped save $700,000.
Because the centralized operation was so successful, we were asked to create an automated system to handle mail production for the provider’s health plan division, which processes about 1.5 million customer service statements a month. The new system takes care of everything:
- Feeds and merges mail statement enclosures
- Folds and inserts the collated document into envelopes
- Seals, addresses, and transports the mail piece for USPS to process
Given this initiative’s success, the company asked us to apply the same system to billing statements for patients and physician services, which total over 750,000 each month. Cost savings in the first year: $200,000.
We’ve since taken on even more challenges:
- Leveraging our Six Sigma® expertise and technology insights to rework mailing production processes
- Overseeing document management for the healthcare provider’s open enrollment function, cutting costs by 20%
- Managing presort mail services, lowering costs by leveraging presort mail programs offered by USPS
“Canon’s Six Sigma experience greatly advanced our mail and print center operations,” stated the assistant director of supply chain management for the healthcare industry leader. “The Canon team mapped existing processes and identified areas where potential defects might occur. They recommended implementing new technology, management processes, and a reporting system, all targeted to reduce mailing errors and equipment malfunctions and create end-to-end accountability.”
Each of our initiatives has yielded positive results, but we don’t see them as separate successes. Each is part of our overarching mission: to help our client operate more effectively, now and long into the future.