My healthcare organization uses a versionof Lean Six Sigma that may be familiar to some of you.

First, project definition through hoshin kanri(enterprise value stream mapping and value stream analysis).

Define -VOC, CTQs, and performance specifications.

Measure -Value Stream Mapping with analysis of data.

Analyze -Waste Walk, SpaghettiMapping, and statistical analysis where appropriate.

Lean – Improvenent through Rapid Improvement or Kaizen events

Control/Sustain -Accountability for the WWW and weekly Process Owner meetings to ensure that the new process is stable and meeting targets.

The last phase is usually found to be the hardest. We’ve gone through several evolutions trying to find the best way to follow up on projects, bearing in mind the resources needed to continually collect data and also the need to help Process Owners and Black Belts stay sane.

Early learning: don’t get carried away in the control phase with identifying data collection at every process step. Select the 2 – 5 key variables to monitor; Process Owners are not going to be able to maintain a 25-point data collection plan in an environment where all data is manually collected from charts, paper records, or computer files.

Also: use more than one method to track success. We started with the dashboard approach – red, yellow, green – and found that some people tended to make snap judgments about the success or failure of a project. We now combine the dashboard with a trend analysis to show ongoing improvement after the rapid improvement event.

Are there any more learnings that you would like to share from your own organization, to help your improved processes to sustain their gains?

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