iSixSigma

DMAIC

With Flexibility, DMAIC Has Long Future Ahead

There has been a buzz about DMAIC, and it goes something like this: “Because DMAIC is for reactive problem solving, and companies are getting more proactive and oriented to Design for Lean Six Sigma (DFLSS), what is going to happen when the reactive problems go away? Won’t the use of DMAIC dwindle or disappear?” The…

Six Sigma Adds Structure to Quality Audit Process

Quality audits are performed to verify the effectiveness of a quality management system. They can also be used to: Gain internationally recognized quality certifications, such as ISO 9001. Verify the existence of objective process data. Assess how successfully processes have been implemented. Judge the effectiveness of achieving any defined target levels. Provide evidence concerning reduction…

DMAIC Helps Agency Craft Green Electronics Plan

The increased demand and limited supply of fossil fuels has signified the importance of energy efficiency and conservation across the world. Energy resourcefulness has come to the forefront in both federal and private organization’s policies and practices. Many organizational standards and procedures aim to minimize the use of energy, thereby protecting the environment. Various federal…

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Six Sigma Tools Still Fit in Projects Lacking Data

In organizations struggling through the early phases of Six Sigma implementation, practitioners often find themselves doing projects with little or no data. Sometimes they can begin collecting the needed data, which causes delays in the project. In other situations, where past information is critical to understanding the evolution of the project, but the data is…

DMAIC and DFSS Roadmaps: How to Connect and Integrate?

The roadmap has always been an important part of Six Sigma. It lays out the thought process for teams and leaders, and distinguishes the methodology from a parade of tools. With the original “Six Steps to Six Sigma” and then “Define Measure Analyze Improve Control” (DMAIC) as the improvement roadmap, plus the addition of Design…

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Storyboards Lend Structure and Discipline to Six Sigma

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…

Reducing Delayed Starts in Specials Lab with Six Sigma

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…

Outpatient Imaging Reports TAT Cut from 64 to 9 Hours

Competition in the outpatient imaging center market is intense. New imaging centers are springing up everywhere. Faced with decreasing reimbursements, ever-changing technology and the expectation of spa-like atmospheres, how can an outpatient imaging center remain profitable? The answer lies with the customer. Having a pulse on the customer experience and continually eliciting and acting on…

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Using a DMAIC-Style Approach to Win Service Contracts

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…

Common Success Factors, Uncommon Success in Europe

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)

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

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

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

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…

Achieving and Sustaining Improvement in Cardiac Medication

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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Fast and Intense: Kaizen Approach to Problem-Solving

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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Measure the Immeasurable: The World of Smell and Taste

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…

Activities vs. Performance: The Procedure/Audit Dilemma

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…

Reducing Door-to-inflation Time for the AMI Patient

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

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…

Using Six Sigma DMAIC for Creating Business Strategy

The DMAIC roadmap is extremely versatile. It has been used to improve performances in companies in virtually every industry and in every department within athos companies. From manufacturing and maintenance to marketing and human resources, DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) is a proven discipline for improving processes. However, the Six Sigma DMAIC roadmap also…

Continuous Improvement Should Apply to DMAIC Itself

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

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’ Can Require a Special Roadmap

Despite the growing awareness that the standard Six Sigma DMAIC toolkit can be applied to process problems in so-called transactional environments – as well as manufacturing – improvements to existing processes do not always involve just tweaking of “settings” in the process. This is because processes in transactional environments contain lots of what have come…

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Applying Six Sigma to Improve Diagnostic Imaging

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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Combining the Power of DMAIC with Testing Processes

Companies today make great financial investments in testing their processes and systems to ensure that they will meet customer expectations. The companies go through all the right steps to test as thoroughly as possible; but – in many cases – the end results are less than desired for the effort, time and dollars expended. Customer experiences…

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Salvaging a Call Center’s Big Software Investment

The sales pitch for a new tracking software sounded perfect to the management of an internal call center for a mid-sized financial institution. The call center handled technical problems and policy issues for branch offices across the country – though it was not doing a very good job at either, judging by the increased complaints…

Streamlining Diagnostic Testing at Northwestern Memorial

The diagnostic testing center at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago is an outpatient laboratory that is kept perennially busy serving the needs of the community. Thousands of walk-in patients are seen each year, primarily for blood tests (phlebotomy) and electrocardiograms (EKGs). Although Northwestern receives acclaim for its patient care, some complaints had begun to surface…

Improving ED Wait Times at North Shore University Hospital

The Emergency Department (ED) increasingly is becoming the sole source of medical care for many individuals. It also is often called the “gateway” to the hospital since it is the first encounter many patients have with the hospital. Thus it is the place where positive or negative perceptions of the hospital initially may be formed….

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Moms Know . . . All About Clear Operational Definitions

Six Sigma practitioners know that operational definitions are definitions to do business with. An operational definition can be defined as a clear and understandable description of what is to be observed and measured, such that different people collecting, using and interpreting data will do so consistently. An operational definition is a concept to guide what…

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Six Sigma Catapults Hospitals to Next Level of Quality

The quality and variability of care delivered by hospitals is highly profiled in the media today. Pick up a newspaper, turn on the television or open a healthcare trade journal and chances are there will be an article detailing the real or possible occurrence of medical errors, allegations of a hospital’s failure to comply with…

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Attention Six Sigma, You’’re Wanted in Surgery

The demand for surgical services is growing rapidly, especially with ambulatory and cosmetic procedures. During the last decade, the volume of ambulatory surgery in U.S. hospitals increased by 2.9 million procedures, according to data from the American Hospital Association. As one of the busiest areas in a hospital, perioperative services often contribute 40 percent or…

Six Sigma and the Software Development Life Cycle

Many software organizations are beginning to use Six Sigma, and are finding that they need to rationalize its relationship to the standard software development life cycle process. A number of issues and alternatives arise when this need is addressed. Roadmaps and Software Development Life Cycles (SDLC) Six Sigma includes two complementary roadmaps. The first of…

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Increasing Cath Lab Capacity Through Six Sigma

Healthcare organizations currently implementing Six Sigma are finding no shortage of opportunities for applying this approach – and many are reaping substantial benefits in terms of cost, quality and productivity. One area increasingly targeted in recent years has been the cardiac catheterization lab, which is generally a high-volume, challenging and complex environment within any healthcare facility….

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Six Sigma Methodology for Credit Risk and Credit Scoring

Six Sigma is today’s dynamic management approach for improving the quality of products and processes. Financial institutions are embracing Six Sigma. American Express, Citibank and GE are well advanced in the implementation of the methodology. Jack Welch, when he was the CEO of GE, said it was the most important initiative that the company had…

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Strategies for Improving Patient Safety in the Hospital

The fact that patients are not entirely safe in a hospital is not breaking news. Errors in healthcare delivery were occurring long before the 1999 report by the Institute of Medicine exposed significant gaps in the healthcare system in the United States. The institute’s report, To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System, found…

Reducing Delays in the Cardiac Cath Lab with Six Sigma: An iSixSigma Case Study

Cardiac catherization labs represent a significant capital investment for many hospitals. Realizing a return on this investment is increasingly challenging, given the introduction of advanced technologies and limitations in reimbursement. To meet the challenges and maintain fiscal health, hospitals are pursuing strategies such as Six Sigma, Lean and change management techniques to improve throughput, maximize…