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Six Sigma for Quality Improvement

"What is Six Sigma?" Simply put, it is a method used to improve quality. This method is unique, because it uses such a highly disciplined approach. More importantly, it has a lofty goal: to improve processes to make them as near perfect as possible. It involves questioning the way everything is done. It means that "good" is not good enough and "better" may not be the best.

Six Sigma at Deaconess

Beginning in July 2003, Deaconess Health System began ongoing training of leadership and staff to use rigorous Six Sigma methods including DMAIC, Lean Change Acceleration Process, and Work-Out™.

Six Sigma Method

DMAIC - Rigorous, data driven problem solving approach; DMAIC is used to improve existing processes and stands for the following steps:

  • Define - the problem or the issue that can be improved
  • Measure - current practices and/or results
  • Analyze - all data for key relationships
  • Improve - by implementing changes to the process
  • Control - the improved process using measurement

Lean - Improvement strategy that focuses on identifying and eliminating waste and non-value added work in processes.

Change Acceleration Process ("CAP") - Process for effectively implementing and sustaining change. Process uses tools to build acceptance and overcome resistance.

Work-Out™ - Well planned and facilitated working session used to develop solutions by the frontline staff that can be rapidly implemented.

Six Sigma Projects Improve Patient Care

Recently, Six Sigma projects have improved patient care in the following ways:

  • Emergency Department bed placement
  • Patient Financial Services - decrease in denials due to authorization
  • Designed process to use Low Dose CT scanning
  • Care Coordination
  • Radiology outpatient scheduling and authorization
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