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Hepatogastroenterology. 2008 Mar-Apr;55(82-83):311-4.

Application of Six Sigma towards improving surgical outcomes.

Author information

1
Department of Gastrointestinal and Hepatopancreatobiliary Surgical Oncology, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, India. pjshukla@doctors.org.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND/AIMS:

Six Sigma is a 'process excellence' tool targeting continuous improvement achieved by providing a methodology for improving key steps of a process. It is ripe for application into health care since almost all health care processes require a near-zero tolerance for mistakes. The aim of this study is to apply the Six Sigma methodology into a clinical surgical process and to assess the improvement (if any) in the outcomes and patient care.

METHODOLOGY:

The guiding principles of Six Sigma, namely DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control), were used to analyze the impact of double stapling technique (DST) towards improving sphincter preservation rates for rectal cancer.

RESULTS:

The analysis using the Six Sigma methodology revealed a Sigma score of 2.10 in relation to successful sphincter preservation. This score demonstrates an improvement over the previous technique (73% over previous 54%).

CONCLUSIONS:

This study represents one of the first clinical applications of Six Sigma in the surgical field. By understanding, accepting, and applying the principles of Six Sigma, we have an opportunity to transfer a very successful management philosophy to facilitate the identification of key steps that can improve outcomes and ultimately patient safety and the quality of surgical care provided.

PMID:
18613355
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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