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Healthcare's Horizon

Summary: The healthcare industry has been slow to accept Six Sigma, due in part to disparities between processes driven by humans as opposed to automated or engineered processes. Additionally, healthcare delivery methods often run counter to the idea of customer centricity. Using the DMAIC approach, many institutions have seen significant improvement, and coupled with other change management techniques, have been able to induce transformations in the organizational culture. But significant change in the delivery of healthcare will not occur until providers begin the process of designing for Six Sigma (DFSS). With DFSS customer expectations are translated into process specifications and then into system design requirements. Six Sigma has demonstrated its ability to adapt to virtually any process, including patient care. Building on the success of the DMAIC model, the next platform for healthcare will likely follow the DFSS approach, but organizations will have to assess their own unique needs and readiness for either targeted or systemic change.

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