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Six Sigma Applied to the hospital setting.

Six Sigma process applied to the hospital setting with clear examples related to the hospital laboratory and the hospital discharge process.

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Six Sigma in the Hospital

There is a difference between claiming to be a Six Sigma company and a company that practices Six Sigma. The Six Sigma process promotes continuous process improvement and seeks virtual perfection. The ultimate goal is to eliminate variation and reduce defects. This is accomplished by eliminating non-value added steps in a process. Six Sigma utilizes statistical analysis and data to improve performance and processes. As stated earlier, the ultimate goal is to achieve virtual perfection or 3.4 defects per million opportunities in manufacturing and operational processes (A brief overview of quality initiatives, 2004).

One could argue that there are costs associated with quality. In the manufacturing world, quality is often associated with the grade and design of the product, which are tangibles that can be quantified and further, defined and demanded by the consumer. In the service industry, I.E. Hospital Industry, quality is more abstract. In order to meet the customer's definition of quality, the service has to meet and exceed the customer's expectations. One can conclude that in order for a product or service to be deemed of quality, it has to meet the established conditions and requirements as they pertain to performance, costs and expectations. (Quality, how you define it, 2001). Consequently, this concept of quality will have a direct impact on the firm's ability to be productive and cost efficient in manufacturing, and of providing excellent customer service in the service industry, I.E. Hospitals.

The Six Sigma model employs a five step process known with the acronym: DMAIC. This acronym stands for: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control. Define is the initial step of the process, where a general intro to the new process improvement method is given. Main focus revolves around formulation of problem statement and those "things" that will be critical to quality (CTQ). This is accomplished by implementing and defining priorities, by assigning team members and those that have a stake in the process. Items or "things" that could be quickly corrected (quick hits) are also ...

Solution Summary

There is a difference between claiming to be a Six Sigma company and a company that practices Six Sigma. The Six Sigma process promotes continuous process improvement and seeks virtual perfection. The ultimate goal is to eliminate variation and reduce defects. This is accomplished by eliminating non-value added steps in a process. Six Sigma utilizes statistical analysis and data to improve performance and processes. More recently, hospitals are adopting Six Sigma as a method to improve their procesesses.

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