Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Standardized Healthcare


This brief provides a concise overview on many implemented technologies in healthcare as ways to implement Six Sigma and Lean principles.


Six-Sigma, Lean, and Toyota Production have been hot topics in the healthcare industry for a while. Waste and variation in delivery of healthcare services (the products) are synonymous with rising healthcare costs in this country. Technologies have been implemented to remove some of the inconsistency but bar codes on supplies or patient wrist bands can only do so much - and I think a single data standard for interoperability sounds like a good talking point but is highly improbable; why would Epic and Cerner allow their systems to easily talk to each other when it could increase the chance of their clients switching different systems. Now try Googling for a standard healthcare protocol for a stent implant in a 30 - 60 years old male who is overweight or even the typical questions in a yearly check-up for child from their pediatrician.


The problem is you will not find one. Many health providers still see rendered healthcare services more as an art than a standardized procedure backed by evidence. The way you get a check-up in Seattle from a family doctor would not be the same as the one you will get in New York City.  Healthcare providers defend every patient is different so every consultation cannot be standardized too much. Given this context, how doe someone manage quality and implement Lean/Six Sigma in a meaningful way for healthcare service?

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