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Healthcare around the world is in crisis as a result of complex structural and strategic problems that will require solutions at a very high level. This book demonstrates that effective solutions based on modern quality management principles can be applied to alleviate many problems locally within healthcare institutions. It is designed to support doctors, nurses, technicians, and administrators who are interested in applying quality management principles and the tools of Lean Six Sigma to improve healthcare within their own institutions. The book should also be of interest to politicians, policy makers and government officials wrestling with healthcare issues.
The book presents a wide selection of examples of the applications of Lean Six Sigma originally published in two of ASQ’s journals, Quality Progress and Six Sigma Forum Magazine over the past few years. Each case illustrates some aspect of how to improve quality and reduce waste in healthcare institutions, whether in the direct delivery of healthcare or on the equally important administrative side. Some of the cases are from large metropolitan hospitals and others are from smaller institutions. Most of the cases show what has worked, while a few show pitfalls or obstacles to be avoided.
Chapter 1 presents some of the basic notions of Lean Six Sigma quality management, explains key concepts and terminology, and makes the reading of the cases easier. The introduction is followed by Chapter 2 presenting six articles of a general nature written by healthcare professionals from a variety of healthcare institutions engaged in quality improvement: how they achieved their results and what they learned. Chapter 3 provides eight detailed cases that describe specific applications of Lean Six Sigma to healthcare. Finally, Chapter 4 provides a discussion of lessons learned and where we go from here.
This book is specifically intended for healthcare professionals with no previous background, knowledge, or experience with Lean Six Sigma. More broadly, it should be of interest to anyone interested in healthcare quality: doctors, nurses, pharmacists, technicians, healthcare administrators, consultants, concerned citizens, politicians, policy analysts, government officials, etc. These cases from American and European healthcare organizations of the use of Lean Six Sigma are documented by pioneering front line healthcare professionals ─ doctors, nurses and healthcare administrators ─ willing to take personal responsibility and show leadership to improve quality and reduce the escalating costs of healthcare.
This book is not about theory. It is a book for doers, showing healthcare providers how to do it. It shows how they can take their destiny in their hands and do something about healthcare quality and costs.