Six Sigma Training for Healthcare

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    Stephen F

    I’m a new graduate trying to distance myself from the rest of the field in some way to break into a career in healthcare quality and performance improvement. I graduated with a BS in Industrial and Systems Engineering and a minor in Business from Virginia Tech and completed a year long senior consulting design project at an area Hospital working to improve the discharge process in their orthopedic ward.I’m just wondering is there a large difference in getting general Six Sigma training as opposed to one tailored for healthcare? I’m looking into this and would like some opinions from those who have more experience in the field.Thanks



    Hi Stephen,
    There shouldn’t be a large difference in the training.  Most of the time it is just the examples used that are tailored to the audience (ie healthcare).  You already have healthcare experience and you are familiar with that environment and it’s processes so I’m not sure there is much more added value for you personally.  I would be more concerned about the quality of the training and the provider first.  Then check dollor for dollar, if the healthcare vs. the general training is worth the price difference.
    That being said however, there seems to be much more of a need for lean tools than six sigma in healthcare right now.  If your training does not cover lean, I would say find one that does.
    Good luck,


    Roger Noble

    Generally, no there isn’t much difference in the training or skills. However, there should be. Industrial based six sigma is heavily data driven with fixed amounts of factors to consider. Healthcare, like many other service based industries, is compounded by infinite variables at play mostly on behavioral level of staff and client/patient levels. The most successful “six sigma” programs I have encountered, studied, and deployed have been much more “lean” oriented than true classical six sigma. You can’t use a standard formula or approach to solve healthcare. Customization is key, not just in the solution but how the challenge is assessed. no two patients are the same therefore no two processes for treating them will be the same, this goes for the backoffice functions that support the business end to provide for the patient care to occur.
    I hope that makes sense. This is from an 11 year six sigma deployment leader in both manufacturing and in healthcare.

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