Top Reasons For Using Six Sigma in Health Care Industry

Diagnostic imaging has undergone a series of changes after the discovery of X-rays. Within a year, the X-rays became an integral part of medical treatment plans. As decades have passed, the new innovations paved way for advanced imaging devices, that helped practitioners to detect the disease at a very early stage and with great precision. There was also a steep rise in the consumer demand, as a result of this, the requirement for qualified technologists also increased.

Even though, many medical imaging centers have installed these high-quality imaging devices, which worked at a greater speed and higher accuracy, the lapses in delivering quality service still prevailed. There were delays in delivering reports and patients experienced long waiting periods for getting the appointments, which was not beneficial for the organization and patients as well. This inefficient service also led to a delay in diagnosing patients and treating them. The situation got worsened, during medical emergencies.

For optimizing technology and performance, and to put an end to the discrepancies in the service, imaging facilities have opted to implement Lean Six Sigma strategy combined with DMAIC methodology (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control) into their organization. Six Sigma methods helps organizations in devising plans to curtail the discrepancies in their service. DMAIC methods also assist organizations in getting to the root cause of the defects which hamper organization’s efforts in providing quality service.

How DMAIC Methods Are Implemented In Diagnostic Imaging Facility

Initially, organizations have to focus on the key areas that are aligned with the goals set by the organization to enhance monetary, productivity and quality improvement. The following paragraphs focus on the DMAIC methods and how these methods are introduced in a diagnostic imaging facility at different phases.

Phase 1: Define and Measure

In Define and Measure phase, which is the first phase in DMAIC, the imaging facility team has to focus on the information that can be gathered by conducting interviews with the stakeholder. After this, the imaging facility team has to collect information on key performance indicators, such as room utilization duration, which indicates the duration of time taken to examine each patient. For gathering financial information, organizations can make use of existing system available within the facility and gather information from the systems. After implementing first phase methods of DMAIC, team members can now outline the procedures within the departments, through sub-process and process mapping with assigned indicators.

Phase 2 : Analyze

In this phase, the team has to focus on the key drivers that will impact the process flow. Usually, the glitches are found during the facility start-up times (mornings) or at the scheduling of appointments with the physicians. There can be issues with patient inflow as well, sometimes it can reach peak levels during the daytime and low in the evenings or vice-versa. After completing the analysis, project teams can develop an action plan that will focus on enhancing the performance and also target improvement opportunities which will amplify business opportunities.

Phase 3: Improve

This Phase is one of the critical phases is implementing DMAIC methods. This is crucial because the older processes are replaced with the newly designed processes to increase the efficiency and productivity of the imaging facility.

Phase 4: Control

The control phase is initiated once the existing processes are replaced by the new processes. This phase plays a crucial role in implementing DMAIC methodology because the organization’s long-term success is interlinked with efficient monitoring and control mechanism, and it is also the differentiating element for Six Sigma. Organizations can also monitor key indicators with the help of control tools such as dashboards and balanced scorecards.

With the help of Six Sigma methods and other tools, organizations can improve process quality and make adjustments to the workflow that will make an impact on the service. In addition to this methods, organizations can also focus on the other departments such as marketing and hone the skills of the technologists by specialized training. By implementing the above mentioned methods, diagnostic imaging facilities can harbor good growth and amplify their market share. These methods are not only confined to medical or healthcare sectors but, they can also be implemented in manufacturing and other service sectors.

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Melissa James