Lean Healthcare Blog or Six Sigma Healthcare Blog

Blog discussing all aspects of continuous improvement in Health Care

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Which is for you Lean or Six Sigma?

Which is the continuous improvement plan for you?

This is a question that most Health Care Specialists are asking today.

Some experts will swear that if you do not use Six Sigma you are doomed to failure. That Six Sigma takes you to the next level of service and responsiveness that customers demand. Other pundits will tell you that you are loosing millions of dollars per year without this continuous improvement scheme.

Then there are the Lean Manufacturing experts that will tell you that Six Sigma is not for Health Care especially hospitals. That it is flow that is key and if you do not control the flow and wait times that you are doomed to mediocrity.

So you ask which is correct? The simple answer is anything that you choose to incorporate is the correct choice. Because you have drive and spirit and have embarrassed that continuous improvement ethic and are forging ahead.

However the realistic answer is that allot depends upon your culture and work climate. I will go into these organizational change elements and bring in Human Factors Engineering with Lean and Six Sigma elements in the next few weeks.

I will explore the advantages and disadvantages of all types of continuous improvement activities. I will also touch on learning at sea! This is traveling to exotic places and learning Six Sigma or Lean Manufacturing etc. during the days you are at sea. Most importantly leaving the shore days open for fun with your significant other.

When I finish you should be able to make the correct choice for you and your facility.

Until next week this is John Holliday signing off, saying good night and safe travels.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Why Worry About Variation?

Why Worry About Variation?

I heard this all of the time in the 1980's from managers and engineers in industry. So what is wrong with 1% or 2% reject rate? After all it is only one penny out of a dollar. Why worry about something so small? Well we did nothing but Toyota did and they showed us how reducing variation was not only a cost saving but improved quality, reliability and they then captured a large portion of the worlds car market.

I wont bore you with all of the tripe that has been said in the past but ask your self, are 90,000 deaths acceptable each year through negligence in our hospitals. Yes 90,000 each year and that number is growing.

These are largely mistakes in procedures, steps illegible handwriting, forgotten procedures and accidental drug substitutions. Those deaths are all preventable that is a sad story. Variation is the cause of all odd these deaths. Variation in procedures, in steps in written and oral communication.

Some hospitals are trying to reduce variation. Those that embark upon one program of continuous or another have found success. The problem is that all too often these successes are in one or perhaps two areas and then stop. It is rare for this to spread throughout the entire hospital. But there are cases, Providence and Kaiser are both working hard to reduce variation and they are committed to implement their activities throughout their entire system of hospitals not just one or two departments in one singular hospital.

crossing the Quality Chasm written by The Committee of Health Care in America, outlined 10 major points. These are areas that need to be addressed to improve the care given in this country. This is a good first step.

I will post those 10 items in the next few weeks and open it up for discussion. Until then,


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

First posting

This blog is about the problems with the Healthcare Industry and what we can do about them. I will be posting my comments and interesting readings that willl communicate what is currently being discussed in the literature.

I hope to see thoughtfull comments from the readers and begin a meanful dialogue regarding this important issue.