• Onyeka A MBA,MS,CNMT,LGBH,CTC

IMPORTANCE OF SIX SIGMA IN HEALTHCARE

Updated: Feb 18



Six Sigma Pillars

Although six sigma began in manufacturing, the concept is even more critical in healthcare given that human lives are at stake, rather than machines or objects. I would imagine there’s not a healthcare provider that operates at a 1 sigma level, and not a 2 sigma level either. Unfortunately in healthcare, a “defect” ranges from a botched surgery or radiologic procedure to a death, all of which are undesirable results. There are no guarantees in medicine but most of these mishaps are preventable. Six sigma methodology can be used to improve processes in every area of a healthcare environment, starting from the admitting process all the way through discharge and follow-up.

“Unfortunately in healthcare, a “defect” ranges from a botched surgery or radiologic procedure to a death, all of which are undesirable results.”

The infographic above shows the processes employed in a typical six sigma project implementation. Six Sigma methodology involves the use of qualitative and quantitative techniques that drive process improvement. The goal of every healthcare organization should be to continuously strive towards improving to the next sigma level. There’s always room for improvement and six sigma provides the tools that help organizations identify problem areas and develop strategies that not only resolve those problems but ensure long-term success.


“The goal of every healthcare organization should be to continuously strive towards improving to the next sigma level. ”

Six Sigma implementation is based on five fundamental processes popularly referred to as DMAIC.

  • Define

  • Measure

  • Analyze

  • Improve

  • Control

The beauty of six sigma methodology is that it can be scaled to meet your organization’s needs irrespective of the size of the organization or project at hand. A seasoned process improvement professional can use the DMAIC principles to achieve the desired results.