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  • #24901

    ROSS
    Member

    I am currently a Black Belt-in-training for a hospital system in the Midwest.  As we move through our training, we are learning the entire arsenal of Six Sigma tools, ranging from a variety of cause and effect tools to the myriad of statistical analysis tools.  I am curious to hear from an experienced healthcare Black Belt as to the amount of tools that they use on a regular basis for their projects.  Are there particular tools and techniques that you gravitate towards?  Or are you finding that you do, in fact, use most of the tools and statistical analyses covered in Black Belt training?  Thanks.

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    #59818

    Martínez
    Participant

    Great question – and one that many new BB’s don’t ask often early on – they usually try to use all of them or get frustrated when some just don’t apply to their current project!  Firstly, I’ll say that trying out several tools is a great way to get more comfortable with your Minitab skills – go for it!  Sometimes it applies and gives you great insight into your problem … sometimes it was simply a great way to hone those Minitab skills.  Either way you’ve learned something!!  Hypothesis testing tools I’ve seen most effectively used are;  1- and 2-way ANOVA, 2 sample T-test, and Mood’s Median (mostly for non-normal data, which is so prevalent).  Most effective techniques for getting consensus around the possible X’s are various creative methods of brainstorming that lead to a CE (Fishbone) diagram.  And the best ways I’ve usually seen to present the data are histograms (including Minitab’s Descriptive Statistics graphical summary output), boxplots, and even the often forgotten dotplots.  Least used technique to date appears to be DoE (Design of Experiments) although I’m told that because it works best with stable processes, it’ll take a while before many chaotic healthcare processes are stable enough to truly benefit from it’s strength.  Look forward to hearing from others …

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    #59819

    ROSS
    Member

    Thanks for the feedback. I was beginning to realize that all of these tools I’m learning may not be applicable to all projects, but its good to hear an experienced BB reinforce it.  Thanks also for the feedback regarding the statistical analyses.  I look forward to hearing others’ opinions on that.  I’m currently working with cycle time data that is not normally distributed, so the Mood’s Median may help me out.

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    #59820

    Michael Toomey
    Participant

     Tony,
    In my shop at home, I have a double wide-double high Craftsman toolbox.  The thing has 20 some odd drawers and in these, I try to keep my tools sorted (despite my three sons which is another story).  In one drawer, I have my drills and bits.  In another I have air tools.  Screwdrivers, pliers, wrenches, hammers, files, and adhesives all have their own spot.  Depending on what I want or need to fix, will depend on which tool I will use.  When I started out, I did not have all these tools but have added to the toolbox as my skills and needs increased.  No tool is still in its bubble wrap (I have tried them all and understand their application) and some show more wear then others (my cordless 3/8” drill is a good example). 
     
    Now, think of your quality tools in the same manner.  You probably started out with a few basic ones on your calculator, moved to Excel, added in Excel’s statistical package, and them added to your laptop a full-up stats package.  You may have even more after that.  But aside from all the neat “stuff”, you should be filing their application neatly away in your mind.  As you work through your project, you should always be asking yourself “what is it I want to know and how do I want to see it?”  In many cases, how quickly you get your desired answer will depend on the familiarity you have with the tools in your toolbox to help you “see it.”  Notice, I said familiarity and not mastery.  I some cases, even a MBB needs to go back to the book and study up on a tool that he/she knows will most likely do the trick. 
     
    As I mentor the “Belts”, I watch for what you call “gravitation” or excessive use of a single or several tools.  I always encourage the belts (sometimes forcefully) to try something different to “see it.”  The “try” may not pay off right then but at some time in the future, it will. 
     
    This past summer I watched a Master Wood Carver teach a beginning class to youth on carving.  They all started with a basic pocketknife and left having a better understanding of what it could do.  But behind the Master were walls and walls of tools.  Many were carving knives of every angle and contour.  The beautiful works in his studio demonstrated the Master’s ability to know what to use when. 
     Enjoy….

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    #59821

    Chuck DeBusk
    Participant

    Tony – First, as an MBB I always caution BB’s not to get stuck on certain tools, but having said that I typically find the basic statistical tools ( ANOVA, t-Tests, Mood’s Median and Regression) are used frequently in Analyze (ANOVA, Mood’s, Regression) or Improve (t-Tests, Mood’s, Ci Square to demonstrate improvement).  Fishbone diagrams and FMEA are also tools that I use or see used in almost every project because of their broad scale applicability.  As you gain experience, you’ll see a wider range of projects and that will necessitate a wider range of tools. 

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    #59822

    ROSS
    Member

    Thanks for all the useful feedback.  What I’m hearing is that a BB needs to have a familiarity with the majority of Six Sigma tools, even if they tend to utilize a smaller number of them.
    Once again…thanks for the info.

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    #60357

    Larkin Smith
    Participant

    My research paper requirements are to identify
    and explain Six Sigma tools used in Healthcare.
    Please provide online locations.
    Health Science Research Student
    Texas State, San Marcos, Tx

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