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Qual Manag Health Care. 2010 Jul-Sep;19(3):211-25. doi: 10.1097/QMH.0b013e3181eb140e.

Assessing the evidence of Six Sigma and Lean in the health care industry.

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1
Division of Management, Policy, and Community Health and Fleming Center for Healthcare Management, University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston, TX 77030, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Popular quality improvement tools such as Six Sigma and Lean Systems (SS/L) claim to provide health care managers the opportunity to improve health care quality on the basis of sound methodology and data. However, it is unclear whether these 2 quality improvement tools actually improve health care quality.

METHODS:

The authors conducted a comprehensive literature review to assess the empirical evidence relating SS/L to improved clinical outcomes, processes of care, and financial performance of health care organizations.

RESULTS:

The authors identified 177 articles on SS/L published in the last 10 years. However, only 34 of them reported any outcomes of the SS/L projects studied, and less than one-third of these articles included statistical analyses to test for significant changes in outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS:

This review demonstrates that there are significant gaps in the SS/L health care quality improvement literature and very weak evidence that SS/L improve health care quality.

PMID:
20588140
DOI:
10.1097/QMH.0b013e3181eb140e
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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