The Basics of Six Sigma DMAIC Methodology
These 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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