Six Sigma is a set of techniques and tools for process improvement. It is a process improvement tool that is generally used in factories and businesses, but it is becoming increasingly popular in the healthcare industry. There are a lot of moving parts in the healthcare industry, from all the people; from an organizational standpoint such as administrators, right down to the patients themselves, to the technologies and scheduling, the list goes on and on. Now more than ever, it is important that the organizations are running smoothly, with minimal errors.
The healthcare industry is one that is different from so many because it needs to be free of any mistakes, as the smallest mistake can lead to a major injury or even death of a patient. Many industries are moving ahead and making advancements in data quality, but the healthcare industry is steadily falling behind. This can result in not being able to diagnosis patients, crowded emergency rooms and not having proper equipment which all leads to lack of quality of care for patients.
The real challenge is that healthcare companies face more problems when applying total quality methods, compared to an industrial company, which the Six Sigma rules more often apply to. Management, long-term vision, and communication are key components for a successful execution of the Six Sigma certification program.
Introducing Six Sigma will bring more organization to the healthcare industry. First, let’s look at the challenges in the industry to be improved on. Because the healthcare industry is largely based on people, communication is a key component which will need to be organized. Since any mistake in the healthcare industry can possibly be fatal, it is an industry that needs to work with the highest quality, which with the tools Six Sigma provides is possible.
Examining human performance and work environment to seek out what is no longer working is a top item of Six Sigma’s techniques. These processes will be evaluated to find what should be eliminated or improved so it will work to its full potential. When workers involved in the Six Sigma guidelines learn how to seek these problems out, they can devise long term or short term projects that can be fulfilled, with monitoring to ensure everything is running smoothly. Patient handling, assistance to families and accounting are just a few examples of Six Sigma projects that can be implemented in the healthcare industry.
As mentioned previously, Six Sigma’s core foundation is to seek out problems within an industry and implement projects to improve them. All projects are related to commitment, customer service, management, leadership and training services, with the goal being simple; improve the healthcare industry, treat patients more efficiently and save lives.