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Healthcare Six Sigma Project

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  • This topic has 16 replies, 11 voices, and was last updated 16 years ago by xu.
Viewing 17 posts - 1 through 17 (of 17 total)
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  • #25236

    Sinnicks
    Participant

    I am beginning my first ever healthcare 6-sigma project.
    After discussion several projects with the executive management, the census was to improve patient throughput in the Oncology Center.
    Does this sound like a feasible 1st  project?

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    #60664

    McNabb
    Participant

    Mark, I admire your ambitious nature.  Throughput has been an issue for us (hospital) for years.  Recently we developed a process for this issue and it has been fairly successful, however, I think we will need to expand as the orgainzation continues to grow.  We have only 1 nurse helping with the project from 10AM to 10PM.  We did not use Six Sigma, but I think it may help you a great deal. Mary:)

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    #60665

    madtexan
    Participant

    Dear Mark, Does this mean you are mean you are going to have the project
    follow the patient from admission to discharge? It sure sounds like
    it. I think that if this is so, you are biting off a huge chunk. I’ve
    heard of many six sigma projects just focusing on one segment of
    throughput, like time spent at admission. I would try to break the
    project up into manageable segments if I were you.
    If you have any more questions, you may contact me through
    http://www.bryantsstatisticalconsulting.com

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    #60666

    Mike Allen
    Participant

    Are you one of the first ones in your organization going through BB training?  Organizations new to SS tend to assign world hunger scale projects to the first few BBs, because they don’t fully comprehend the scope of work involved. 
    You might want to check out the Improvement Tracker portion of the IHI website (http://www.ihi.org/ihi/workspace/tracker/) for ideas on projects. IHI also has some intereting discussions and tools for improving Patient Flow (see ‘Patient Flow Diagnostic’).
    Good luck, and keep us posted!

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    #60667

    Sinnicks
    Participant

    Thanks for your reply!
    I need to make sure that the project charter has a well defined problem statement. I am currently preparing the project scope and it looks to me like “One process” within the Oncology patient throughput should be addressed instead of trying to look at the entire Oncology patient throughput.

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    #60668

    Sinnicks
    Participant

    Yes, the management team would like the entire process evaluated, from admission / registration through discharge. What might you suggest as to breaking up the project into manageable segments? Maybe starting with the admission / reigstration process? As we know there are many processes that make up Oncology patient throughput. Are you saying that each process within the patient throughput cycle could be a 6 sigma project?

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    #60669

    J D Cole
    Participant

    Amen to the “world hunger” comment! We have experienced that in our organization, and although we are about 7 months into our Six Sigma program, we continue to struggle with appropriate scoping and scale of projects.
    The recently trained Black Belts are now working with the senior managers in “project identification” sessions that allow us to do some preliminary scoping and scaling before assigning projects out…so we hope to be a lot better at this process before our second wave of Black Belts begin training early next year…that should help alleviate some of the frustration and disappointment from taking on poorly scoped projects with loosely defined goals.

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    #60670

    Sinnicks
    Participant

    Yes, I am one of the first ones going through BB training. I am currently reviewing the information you suggested below. Thanks for the reference. I just want to ensure that our team has a well defined process and boundaries. I understand Oncology patient throughput but don’t feel comfortable addressing the entire process all at once. Should I perform a project on each process within the patient throughput cycle? and how would you address baseline performance?

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    #60671

    Mike Allen
    Participant

    You are smart to think that way (this is part of “educating the management”).  Champion and Project sponsor training can sometimes alleviate this type of problem (ideally, this should be done prior to sending BBs to training).  You might want to start with a high-level process map, to show how the different sub-processes interact, then carve out 1-2 sub-processes which can best impact (choosing sub-processes for which some or most of the key measures are already defined, with data available, will make your job easier).  Put this in the form of a counter-proposal (your trainer/coach or MBB can help you with this, and be sure to keep your project sponsor in the loop); placing emphasis on showing ROI and having an achievable, meaningful project, should help your case.
    It sounds like you’re doing some good due diligence.  If you want to discuss off-line, e-mail me at [email protected].  Keep us posted.
    Mike

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    #60682

    Pai
    Participant

    Mark/All,
    I am planning to join health care industry after working for around 10 years with top manufacturing companies ,just wanted to understand how good fit it is switching from a six sigma expert in manufacturing to drive quality and six sigma in leadership role in a health care industry.
    I am looking forward to understand how health care industries work in driving six sigma.
     
    Regards
    Rajesh

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    #60692

    Brit
    Participant

    Mark:
    We performed a similar activity and found that doing smaller prokects is the best way to go. However, choosing the projects is key.  If you have a general overview flowchart of the oncology project, start there.  Look at the time per patient in the different areas/steps of the chart.  The slowest time per patient usually is the best way to go.  We found that our ancillary initiatives (radiology, ECHO, Transport, etc.) were causing the most pain to our throughput, rather than the admission process or physician/nurse/patinet interaction.  It may be different from your situation, ut hope this helps.

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    #60693

    Sinnicks
    Participant

    Thanks Brit!
    Was your project focused on inpatient or outpatient Oncology services? My project is focused on strictly outpatient Cancer Center, which includes, Cancer Services, Med and Rad Oncology Services.

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    #60694

    Brit
    Participant

    Actually, we did one for inpatient and one for outpatient, but not one for strictly oncology.  Regardless, the flow issue will take the same approach.  Idea is that the system as a whole cannot move faster than the slowest operation. Each step in your flowchart should be sampled to see where the slowest is and start there.

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    #60695

    David Hevel
    Participant

    Isn’t anyone going to address the question Rajesh asked?  I’m a manufacturing quality guy who jumped ship into healthcare 6 years ago and I can tell you that it’s darned hard to do.  First you have face the language problem because they speak in latin. Secondly you have to bridge the way work processes are designed because they tend to think in outcomes rather than well defined and stable processes.  Thirdly you have to find a way to involve process owners because almost all process rework is done by management and passed down to workers.  Fourth you will be faced with a huge committement to the heroic archetype becasue they do heroic things all the time and to think in stable, capable process goes right out the window everytime there’s an emergency and everything’s an emergency.  But that all said, if you bring good process defintion and design tools to the table and you’re patient, you will find healthcare team members some of the brightest and most dedicated people I’ve had the pleasure of working with.  I wouldn’t trade places with a manufacturing quality professional now that I’m in healthcare.  It’s been a great ride.

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    #60697

    Ken Robertson
    Participant

    Hi I agree with with everything you say about applyning Lean Thinking or Six Sigma in Healthacre environment. It can be done though but requires a high degree of motivation and stubborness.

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    #60699

    howe
    Participant

    Since it’s your first project start small; you may want to consider focusing on first cases for now.

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    #60763

    xu
    Participant

    David Hevel provided a fully expository response on Wednesday, 23rd November 2005. That was 2 months ago. Did you act on it? How’s the project going?
    PS — I think the bottleneck is Discharge. It’s always Discharge.

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