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Toward Error Free Lab Work

Summary: In a clinical laboratory, standards do not exist for defining the quality of the preanalytical phase of a testing process, during which 70 to 85 percent of errors are known to occur. Accessioning errors occurring when paper requisitions accompanying samples were entered into the laboratory information system had plagued North Shore - Long Island Jewish Health System's core laboratory for years until it launched a Six Sigma project using the DMAIC approach to deal with the problem. A multidisciplinary team determined that the lab's accessioning error rate was comparable to industry standards, but that the process was inconsistent as to the number of requisitions processed per hour and was below industry standards. The team used a design of experiment (DOE) to show that a new lean workflow would help increase productivity and that the use of bar codes would reduce accessioning errors. The accessioning department has been able to increase its workload without additional staff, !and the project resulted in significant financial benefit from increased revenue and cost reduction. A sidebar article describes business results from the North Shore - Long Island Jewish Health System Six Sigma initiatives.

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  • Topics: Six Sigma, Design of Experiments, Statistical Process Control (SPC)
  • Keywords: DMAIC,Design of experiments (DOE),Healthcare industry,Case study,Process improvement team,Six Sigma,Process control
  • Author: Riebling, Nancy B.; Condon, Susan; Gopen, Daniel
  • Journal: Six Sigma Forum Magazine