Quality in healthcare has come to mean many things to many stakeholders – from satisfaction with service to the clinical outcome of the patient’s treatment.The most widely accepted definition was stated by the Institute of Medicine in the publication .
Such shortcomings must be addressed to achieve system-wide clinical quality improvement.
Medical error reporting: Given a litigious and punitive climate, providers are understandably hesitant to report medical errors.
Such redundancies and waste are costly both in financial terms as well as discomfort and dissatisfaction to the patient.
The use of statistical tools to measure and improve quality is not a new concept and certainly not exclusive to Six Sigma.
Defects in any business carry an associated expense, but medical errors also carry significant human costs.
And the IOM report estimates that medical errors cost the nation approximately .6 billion each year, with roughly billion of those costs associated with preventable errors.
Perhaps less obvious – and until recently less documented – is the impact it can make in clinical areas such as infection control and medication delivery.
Clinicians are often receptive to Six Sigma given its familiar scientific and evidence-based foundation – adherents, however, must acknowledge the unique nature of patient care delivery requiring some translation of the methodology from manufacturing to medicine.
Tackling all areas at once could make the initiative seem overwhelming and the obstacles to change insurmountable.
Once a project is selected, the contributing factors must be prioritized.