Rural Health, Purdue Healthcare Advisers

April 26, 2018

Purdue launches online platform to prepare health care professionals in lean and people skill development

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue Healthcare Advisors (PHA) is providing a more convenient way for health care professionals to obtain certifications in lean process improvement and develop advanced people skills in team facilitation, change making, leadership and other areas with the launch this month of PHA Direct, an online platform for instruction, coaching and community building.

Using D2L’s Brightspace Learning Management System, the platform will be used by PHA initially to enhance its Lean First program, which prepares health care professionals for credentialed roles as Lean Daily Improvement Facilitators, Lean Practitioners, Advanced Lean Practitioners and Lean Leaders. Large clinics, hospitals, health systems, and other health care-related groups contract with PHA, which is part of the Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering at Purdue University, in an effort to build organization-wide lean capability. 

“PHA Direct is a direct response to increasing demand from hospitals and health care organizations for ways to boost quality, drive down costs and accelerate dissemination of successful improvements,” said PHA director Randy Hountz. “Over the past decade, we’ve worked hand-in-hand with health care practitioners, guiding them toward an environment of continuous improvement with our in-person lean training and project facilitation. PHA Direct gives us the capacity to train more people more efficiently, while adhering to our rigorous academic standards.” 

Lean health care training equips professionals with the knowledge and skills to improve patient flow, reduce hospital-acquired conditions, enhance patient satisfaction and reduce preventable readmissions, among other goals. The online platform provides students with flexible access to the instruction and tools required to complete assignments accompanied by the coaching they need to succeed in creating real-world process improvement. For example, the Advanced Lean Practitioner coursework includes a flipped classroom approach in which students study online to gain basic conceptual knowledge, then experience a multi-day, improvement event firsthand. 

In addition to the curriculum, the platform includes membership in Connect, a new community of practice devoted to operational excellence in health care that provides for ongoing professional collaboration and direct access to Purdue experts. 

“All lean certification and training programs will include membership in Connect, which is something we’ve wanted to offer the health care industry for a very long time,” said Paul Griffin, Ph.D., director of Regenstrief Center. “From our pilot program alone, we’re seeing Connect grow into an active community with more than 300 members from 27 different organizations who have shared 100+ reusable lean solutions. This will provide us with rich data to better understand what works, help practitioners expedite solutions and provide a rich dataset of real-life, research-worthy implementation improvements.” 

PHA Direct also will feature kCards, a micro-learning approach that supports the mastery of soft skills for achieving lasting behavior change. Participants will access online tools to create and share kCards, also known as knowledge cards, as they build resilience and emotional intelligence as well as skill in innovation, leadership, team facilitation and more. 

Later this year, PHA Direct will offer the general public an opportunity to enroll in its first completely online program, which will include modules that form a path toward earning a Lean Daily Improvement Facilitator certification. These modules will instruct students on how to make systematic, small-step changes while work is being done and to sustain the gains that have been made. 

About Purdue Healthcare Advisors

Purdue Healthcare Advisors (PHA) is a not-for-profit outreach initiative for the health care industry. PHA is part of the Purdue University-based Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering (RCHE), which serves as a national nucleus for driving high-impact improvement in health care delivery by mobilizing the intellectual strengths of Purdue faculty and partners. Created in 2005 by a partnership among Purdue University, RCHE and the Indiana Hospital Association, PHA serves the training, project facilitation and assessment needs of thousands of independent practices as well as hundreds of hospitals/health care systems striving to increase cost savings as they better the patient-care environment. 


Randy Hountz, Director, Purdue Healthcare Advisors; (765) 494-0766;

Paul Griffin, Ph.D., St. Vincent Health Chair of Healthcare Engineering and Professor of Industrial Engineering; Director of the Regenestrief Center for Healthcare Engineering; (765) 494-1531; 

Media Contact:

Jeanine Parsch, Managing Advisor-Communications & Marketing, (765) 496-7583;