Six Sigma Methodology when applied to improve diagnostic imaging such as PET, PACS, RIS, Ultrasound etc., it brings about process improvement through optimizing the already specialized systems.
The Six Sigma methodology is aimed at improving report-turnaround time, and increasing capacity and productivity. The process tries to eliminate non-value-added services, find out the root causes, and mitigate redundancies to optimize the existing processes. When the DMAIC process is also able to achieve a significant financial gain, the management adapts it and trains its staffs to increase service quality.
The process improvement starts with scoping. Choosing the right project to work on can prove to be beneficial in terms of finance, quality as well as production. The VOC and the KPIs are gathered, along with the financial data and existing cycle times. The process is then mapped based on the collection. The most critical drivers are analyzed, which might show slow start up times, or patients not showing up for appointments.
To address such bottlenecks, actions plans are devised as per the Six Sigma Methodology. Once the improvements are in place, it is also important to control the process changes. Dashboards and balanced scorecards help to keep the process monitored. Two such process improvements were implemented, one at Carle Clinic and the other at Baptist Citizens Medical Center in Alabama, both of which gained significantly from Six Sigma implementations.
While at the Carle Clinic, the enhanced system helped gain $390,000 annually, increased satisfaction, and achieved better predictability. At the Baptist Citizens Medical Center it helped add 260 additional CT slots and 780 additional US slots annually, and made $314,744 every year.
Six Sigma provides excellence into the area of diagnostic imaging department by looking into additional areas such as marketing and specialized training. It helps meet customer expectations, by streamlining the processes and thus allowing the system to thrive efficiently.
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