Measure: Measure the target metric and confirm that the measurement system is accurate. Measure the existing system. Establish valid and reliable metrics to help monitor progress towards the goals defined at the previous step. Begin by determining the current baseline. Use exploratory and descriptive data analysis to help you understand the data.
Analyse: Analyse the system to identify ways to eliminate the gaps between the current performance of the system or process and desired goal. Use statistics to find the root cause of the problem and generate a prioritised listing of them.
Improve: Enhance the healthcare delivery system. Be creative in finding new ways to do things better, cheaper, or faster. Use project management and other operations, planning and management tools to implement new approach. Use facts and statistical methods to validate improvement.
Control: Monitor the new system. Institutionalise the improved system by modifying compensation and incentive systems, policies, procedures, services and other management systems.
The key players in Six Sigma initiative are: Champions and Sponsors, Master Black Belt (MBB), Black Belt (BB) and Green Belt (GB).
Champion and Sponsors: Six Sigma champions are high-level individuals who understand Six Sigma and are committed to its success. Sponsors are the owners of processes and systems who help initiate and co-ordinate Six Sigma improvement activities in their areas of responsibilities.
Master Black Belts (MBB): He/she plays a vital role as a leader, project selector, coach, mentor, manager and strategic business planner. An MBB in healthcare needs a variety of skills and information in order to function effectively. An MBB teaches other sigma students and helps them achieve Green Belt and Black Belt Status.
Black Belt: He/she is a person that is part of the leadership structure for process improvement team called ‘Black Belts’. They are highly-regarded personnel who have an ability to lead teams as well as to advise the management.
Green Belt: He/she is person trained in Six Sigma methodology and is a team member of a Six Sigma process improvement action team.
If you make Six Sigma a strategy in your hospital, the end result will get reflected in sustainable bottom line improvement. The average time taken to develop a plan and improve a process takes 3-12 months, depending on the scope and goals of the organisation. Successful Six Sigma project requires cross-functional teams.
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Formula Of Six Sigma
Quality (Q) × Acceptance (A) = Effectiveness (E)
Hence, the effectiveness of the result is equal to the quality of the solution time and acceptance of the idea.
Pradeep Bhardwaj is Six Sigma Hospital and Healthcare Management Consultant, Delhi.