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The Basics of Six Sigma DMAIC Methodology

dmaic-1786571_960_720These elements provide a framework for problem-solving, as well as guidelines for improving your company. While traditionally used in a factory setting, the components can be applied in the healthcare industry to improve organizational communication and patient satisfaction.

  • Define Customers and Requirements (CTQs)
  • Develop Problem Statement, Goals and Benefits
  • Identify Champion, Process Owner, and Team Members
  • Define Resources
  • Evaluate Key Organizational Support
  • Develop Project Plan and Milestones
  • Develop High-Level Process Map

M- the “Measure Phase”: Measure process to determine performance and seek out problems. Tools used include process flow charts, data collection, benchmarking, measurement system analysis, etc.

  • Define Defect, Opportunity, Unit and Metrics
  • Detailed Process Map of Appropriate Areas
  • Develop Data Collection Plan
  • Validate the Measurement System
  • Collect the Data
  • Begin Developing Y=f(x) Relationship
  • Determine Process Capability and Sigma Baseline

A- the “Analyze Phase”: Analyze data and determine the root of the problems. Tools used include histogram, Pareto chart, time series/run chart, scatter plot, etc.

  • Define Performance Objectives
  • Identify Value/Non-Value Added Process Steps
  • Identify Sources of Variation
  • Determine Root Cause(s)
  • Determine Vital Few x’s, Y=f(x) Relationship

I- the “Improve Phase”: Improve the process by eliminating weak spots. Tools used include brainstorming, mistake proofing, the design of experiments, etc.

  • Perform Design of Experiments
  • Develop Potential Solutions
  • Define Operating Tolerances of Potential System
  • Assess Failure Modes of Potential Solutions
  • Validate Potential Improvement by Pilot Studies
  • Correct/Re-Evaluate Potential Solution

C- the “Control” Phase– Control future performance. Tools used include process sigma calculation, control charts, cost savings calculations.

  • Define and Validate Monitoring and Control System
  • Develop Standards and Procedures
  • Implement Statistical Process Control
  • Determine Process Capability
  • Develop Transfer Plan, Handoff to Process Owner
  • Verify Benefits, Cost Savings/Avoidance, Profit Growth
  • Close Project, Finalize Documentation
  • Communicate to Business, Celebrate

In between each phase, there is always a review period to confirm you are ready to move on. Setting up the Six Sigma DMAIC methodology in the healthcare industry will improve and organize the workplace, eliminating errors for a better output of services and increased patient satisfaction.

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