Six Sigma is another model for improvement. The term comes from the use in statistics of the Greek Letter (sigma) to denote Standard Deviation from the mean. 6 sigma is equivalent to 3.4 defects or errors per million.
Six Sigma is a measurement-based strategy for process improvement and problem reduction completed through the application of improvement projects. This is accomplished through the use of two Six Sigma models: DMAIC and DMADV.
- DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve, control) is an improvement system for existing processes falling below specification and looking for incremental improvement.
- DMADV (define, measure, analyze, design, verify) is an improvement system used to develop new processor products at Six Sigma quality levels.
Emergency Department example of Six Sigma use:
The ED is often the first entry point for a community to the hospital, thus it is the place where positive or negative perceptions of the hospital initially may be formed. North Shore University Hospital in Forest Hills, N.Y., addressed this issue by initiating a Six Sigma project aimed at improving the patient experience in its Emergency Department. The project team took on the problem of excessive wait times in the ED while struggling at the same time with rising Healthcare costs and increasing volumes of patients. The results have been impressive
Cardiac Cath Lab use of Six Sigma:
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 equipment utilization and increase efficiency.
Reducing Coding Errors with Six Sigma:
Like a detective, Pam Thomson probed the mysteries of CPT coding errors in the pulmonary medicine department at University of Virginia (UVA) Medical Center, looking for hard evidence of what went wrong and why. Were coding errors correlated with the time of day, day of the week, or workload? Was something amiss in the physician/coder interaction that produced the code? Were errors related to some fundamental misunderstanding of a specific type of code that caused consistent overcoding or undercoding?