It was cited in 1999, that the cause of death, for as many as 98,000 Americans, is medical error. Although many medical centers have used the models of TQM, CQI, PDCA and the like to improve their quality measures, many want to imbibe the concepts of Lean Six Sigma in Hospitals to enhance their processes even further.
Lean Six Sigma in Hospitals majorly use DMAIC and DMADV for implementing the change mechanisms. The following example will illustrate the use of such Six Sigma principles in the post-operative care facility for patients who have undergone an open-heart surgery.
During the Define Phase of this DMAIC process begins with the definition of project scope, the charter, identification of the key customers and designing a process map of the as-is process. The goal was to reduce the costs for the patients and their average length of stay, while increasing the quality of care. While the benchmark was 18%, in this case, 53% of the patients were retained till the 7th day, post operation. The annual saving through such an initiative was estimated at $400,000.
Once the process map was drawn up, the Measure Phase began. A fishbone diagram helped understand the root cause behind the patients staying back for a longer duration. Some of the factors were the attending cardiologist, atrial fibrillation, or the time of extubation.
The next phase in DMAIC is the Analyze Phase, during which the critical factors were drawn out. When atrial fibrillation and lack of ambulation came out as the cause for the longer stay of patients, the hospital changed its operative procedures, thereby reducing 2 days of the patient’s post op stay.
A standard procedure was designed and circulated to all the key stakeholders and staffs. Constant monitoring and reporting in the Control phase ensured that the probability of post op stay beyond 6 days remained 0.13. Use of Lean Six Sigma in hospitals take care of patient satisfaction, and increase the probability of quality service by the healthcare providers.