“Toolbox? We Don’t Need No Stinking Toolbox!” Is Six Sigma a New Set of Tools or a New Way to Employ Existing Tools?

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In the debate about whether Six Sigma is something new, the arguments for and against revolve in part, around the set of tools used to execute a Six Sigma project. Is Six Sigma a new set of tools or a new way to employ existing tools? The answer lies somewhere in the middle. Many of […]

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DMAIC and DFSS Roadmaps: How to Connect and Integrate?

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Making a single DMAIC-DFSS roadmap elicits numerous coexistence and integration questions. Nonetheless, a combined core roadmap is possible.

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Reducing Avoidable Cancellations on the Day of Surgery

Reducing Avoidable Cancellations on the Day of Surgery

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To accommodate growth in surgical service without adding resources, a Six Sigma team at Deaconess Hospital takes aim at reducing the number of same day surgical cancellations.

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Storyboards Lend Structure and Discipline to Six Sigma

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Six Sigma’s step-by-step approach to problem solving has benefited greatly from the development of a common toolkit, project framework and terminology. That commonality, to a large extent, has made Six Sigma a business phenomenon transcending corporate and national boundaries. However, one broadly implemented element of Six Sigma project management that is often underestimated is the […]

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Reducing Delayed Starts in Specials Lab with Six Sigma

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Special radiology procedures can be some of the most difficult to manage in healthcare. Their production relies on the chorus of a multidisciplinary team working within a limited time frame. Ancillary department performance can directly affect outcome performance for the unit. Defects such as missing orders, missing history and physicals or problems with patient flow […]

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Fast and Intense: Kaizen Approach to Problem-Solving

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Perhaps it was impatience with how long traditional projects take. Often it was an awareness of how hard it is for people to concentrate on improvement when they keep thinking about getting their work done. To some extent it was a matter of their innate respect for the people who do the work. For all […]

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Helping the Help Desk Satisfy Customers More Quickly: An iSixSigma Case Study

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A young, rapidly expanding financial services company located in India runs an in-house help desk for responding to customer queries via email or telephone. Help desk response time is tracked using software that calculates the time between registering and closing calls. A project was instituted to train employees in the relevant tools and techniques of […]

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Using a DMAIC-Style Approach to Win Service Contracts

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In today’s competitive environment, companies are looking for service providers that offer a lower cost and a trusted partnership. This is a need that can turn the request-for-quotes (RFQ) process into more than a bidding war. It is especially true when companies are looking to outsource major activities and are concerned about losing control. For […]

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Common Success Factors, Uncommon Success in Europe

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Whether implementing Six Sigma in Munich or Manhattan, Paris or Prague, certain common factors are critical for success. Nonetheless, how one successfully applies these factors is culturally dependent. Universal Critical Success Factors Accepting the General Electric definition of Six Sigma as “completely satisfying customers’ needs profitably” means that Six Sigma requires a company-wide initiative to […]

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Scientific Problem-Solving: DMAIC in Terms of Y = f(x)

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A major advantage provided by the implementation of Six Sigma is changing the thought process from trial and error to Y = f(x). Most training programs for Six Sigma seem to focus on teaching the tools rather than driving home the importance of scientific problem-solving for process improvement. That is where breakthroughs really begin. One […]

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Y = f(x) Roadmap: Telling the DMAIC Story Using Xs and Ys

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With its DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) roadmap, the Six Sigma methodology provides a structured and systematic approach to solve business and process problems. The related toolkit is a selection of proven tools and methods that– correctly applied – helps to determine, analyze and improve a problem. All well and good, however, inexperienced or newly […]

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Six Sigma Improves Workflow in N-Medicine Department

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The nuclear medicine department located in the Ospedale Santa Croce e Carle in Cuneo, Italy, has always been recognized as a national and international reference site for its clinical compentencies and innovative facility design. When originally opened, the nuclear medicine department was structured to provide the best possible service to patients. This included a focus […]

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Management Assessment for Competitive Advantage

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A management functional assessment model (MFAM) can help organizations attain and sustain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. The model aids managers in determining the key activities to address in order to improve corporate efficiency and effectiveness based on satisfying stakeholders. And it does it via an easy-to-use scorecard. While using Six Sigma’s DMAIC methodology […]

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Achieving and Sustaining Improvement in Cardiac Medication

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More than 70 million Americans have some form of cardiovascular disease, including stroke, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure (CHF) and acute myocardial infarction (AMI). The numbers continue to rise as the population ages, and improving the timeliness and quality of cardiovascular care continues to be a critical area of focus for healthcare providers. Some […]

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Measure the Immeasurable: The World of Smell and Taste

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In many industries, improvement projects quickly face an obstacle: The lack of easy to get and reliable data. This is especially true when the critical-to-quality elements (CTQs) of the project are “soft attributes” such as taste, smell or texture. Facing such a problem in the food and drink industries is obvious. While in a Kano […]

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Activities vs. Performance: The Procedure/Audit Dilemma

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This article, a second in a series exploring how to organize activities, determines their value add, and leverages them for performance, examines the characteristics, impacts and organizational traits related to procedures and audits. Part 1, Activities vs. Performance Improvement, Common Sense, discussed the nature and attributes of organizational culture and behaviors when evolving from a […]

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Continuous Improvement Should Apply to DMAIC Itself

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All practitioners of Six Sigma – even those new to the methodology – are aware of the basic DMAIC roadmap. The starting point for every Six Sigma program is to explain the acronym and to teach the common principles of DMAIC. “Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control” becomes the mantra for new Green Belts and […]

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To Use DMEDI or to Use DMAIC? That Is the Question

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As the acceptance of Six Sigma grows and penetrates deeper into business culture, organizations begin to question when a process will benefit from a Six Sigma methodology that provides improvement (DMAIC) versus one that offers a new design (DMEDI). While the answer is clear to veteran Six Sigma practitioners, it is not so clear to […]

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People Complexity

People Complexity Can Require a Special Roadmap

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The DMAIC toolkit is excellent for solving technical complexity problems. However, you may have noticed that Lean Six Sigma is not as adept at helping solve people problems. The solution is an integrated DMIAC/change management roadmap.

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Reducing Door-to-inflation Time for the AMI Patient

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Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and more than 900,000 people annually are diagnosed with acute myocardial infarction (AMI). The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) have identified AMI as one of the early priority focus areas for hospital […]

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Reducing Admitting Delays by Improving Bed Management

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When confronted by concerns of some physicians about frequent lengthy delays that they experienced admitting patients, Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital in Houston, Texas, assembled a cross-functional Six Sigma team to identify and address any underlying issues that might be causing the delays. The business case for pursuing the project was clear. Improving bed management and […]

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Using Six Sigma DMAIC for Creating Business Strategy

Using Six Sigma DMAIC for Creating Business Strategy

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The Six Sigma DMAIC roadmap can provide a disciplined process for creating and executing successful business strategies.

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Attention Six Sigma, You’re Wanted in Surgery

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With the demand for surgical services growing, especially with ambulatory and cosmetic procedures, hospitals continue learning that Six Sigma is a useful tool.

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Applying Six Sigma to Improve Diagnostic Imaging

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Since the discovery of X-rays in 1895, the field of diagnostic imaging has undergone dramatic changes. Within a year after its introduction, the application of X-rays to diagnosis and therapy had already become an established part of medicine. The decades to follow produced a steadily increasing stream of innovation – including the advent of nuclear […]

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