December 13, 2010
Methods and information technology for quality improvement
Various methodologies exist for the integration of quality improvement strategies into performance improvement measures. With concepts of total quality management (TQM) and quality improvement (QI) being introduced to health care organizations; administrators have had to decide which methodology is right for the organization. There are numerous methodologies: Six Sigma, Lean, and Customer Inspired Quality. Each has its own pros and cons. A key component of quality improvement is the technology that gathers and compares the data that the quality improvement measure produces. All of the information that is gathered from the technology can be benchmarked against other health care organizations. Numerous methods exist for the integration of quality improvement into the health care setting. The Six Sigma model was pioneered by Motorola. This method focuses on reducing variance through a problem solving approach that will improve the quality of the output. The fundamental objective of the Six Sigma methodology is the implementation of a measurement based strategy that focuses on process improvement and the reduction of variance. The Six Sigma method does through the DMAIC process (define, measure, analyze, improve, and control). The DMAIC process is an improvement system for existing quality processes that fall below specifications and need to be improved in increments. Lean Thinking was used by Toyota as a key in its success. The Lean method strives to reduce waste and to improve performance through workflow. The Lean method is concerned with driving out waste so that all work adds value to the product and serves the customers’ needs. Lean thinking identifies all steps in a process and identifies them as value-added or non-value-added steps. All non-value-added steps are then...