Six Sigma for Healthcare and Hospitals

Why Six Sigma for the Healthcare Industry?

No matter how you feel about it, with the passage of healthcare reform in Washington comes an even bigger question: Can we pay for it? To help out the American tax payers, healthcare will have to figure out how to dramatically cut costs to meet their part of the bargain. Consider this:

Out of the $2 Trillion spent on healthcare, $700 Billion is spent correcting preventable mistakes and errors according to Robert Kelley, VP of Healthcare Analytics at Thompson Reuters. Mistakes and errors that could be prevented with Six Sigma.

There's an estimated $250 Billion spent on unnecessary procedures. Procedures that could be avoided using Six Sigma.

In other words, there's almost a trillion dollars in savings waiting to be discovered. Using the tools of Lean and Six Sigma in healthcare this is possible! With that much money, we could more easily afford universal healthcare. 

The 1999 report, To Err is Human, found that one patient out of every 100 that checked into a hospital would die due to a medical mistake. Although the Institute for Healthcare Improvement has taken steps toward improvement, a 2009 Joint Commission Journal article reported that we don't know if that number has improved because we haven't been tracking it. 

Enough already! I'm tired of excuses. There's a handful of hospitals that have taken the lead on redesigning healthcare using Lean Six Sigma, but it's taken Virginia Mason, Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic and others almost a decade. We no longer have the time. 

Lean Six Sigma in Healthcare Doesn't Have to Take Forever 

Having worked on Six Sigma projects in hospitals and healthcare, I can tell you that it's not that the clinicians don't want better patient outcomes. It's just that they think it will take too long and cost too much and, let's face it, nobody wants to give up "the way we've always done it." Unlearning old, slow, error-prone methods is painful, but not impossible. 

It is possible to make breakthrough improvements in speed, quality and cost in five days or less if you get the right people in a room focused on the right outcome. I've done it over and over again using the tools of Lean and Six Sigma.. 

Lean Six Sigma for Healthcare White Papers 

What we need is faster, better, cheaper healthcare which everyone in healthcare seems to think is virtually impossible because we're working as fast as we can. Fortunately, we don't need faster, better or cheaper clinicians; the solution lies elsewhere. 

I've written a series of Lean Six Sigma for Healthcare white papers on this subject: 

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