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Why Lean Six Sigma Is Important in Healthcare

As our baby boomer population gets older, the healthcare system will be inundated with many aging people who aren’t feeling well. Unfortunately, our current system won’t be able to accommodate or help them. Not because our current healthcare system is weak, it just needs to catch up to our needs.

Our economy has been less than perfect, and many generations are feeling the pinch. Healthcare is expensive, simply due to all the waste and errors and the mishandling of time and materials, not to mention redundancies in protocols and procedures.

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The healthcare industry has been suffering from staffing shortages, primarily of nurses and certain techs. This leaves just a few people to wear many hats, especially in the course of a busy day or night. This is when mistakes are made and lives could be compromised.

How Lean Six Sigma Can Help 

DMAIC: First use the Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control template, with the goal to improve the patient experience at the doctor’s office. 

VSM –  The Value Stream Map is a Lean Six Sigma tool that allows you to see the entire process, from beginning to end. This is a great way to spot any areas of waste or errors. The value stream map also helps in the flow of information that is needed to produce a product or service.

Root Cause Analysis – This is an extremely important step for continuous improvement. One of the tools associated with this process is the Ishikawa Diagram, or Cause and Effect diagram, which can be used after the 5 Whys tool. Remember, many times there is more than one reason for a problem, so a single root cause is not always the case.

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