Importance of Lean Six Sigma in Healthcare

By Gloria D’Souza


Lean Six Sigma provides the framework and skills to help healthcare professionals perform adequately and accurately in their work place. It also provides skills to help the organization deliver better performance and complete their workflow more effectively. Lean Six Sigma helps professionals deliver the results needed in a complex and competitive environment with minimal inaccuracy.

The concept of “lean” is the ability to deliver the healthcare professional a collection of practices, tools, and methodologies directed in improving processes efficiently while minimizing waste and delays in providing services to the patients.

Using Lean Six Sigma to improve the work process in healthcare quality can minimize infections that target the inpatients who have had procedures and by utilizing quality control tools, preventing inpatient falls and injuries in hospitals or nursing homes, reducing medication errors and scheduling the correct procedure orders for the outpatients. Lean Six Sigma can also reduce the unnecessary expenses and time to fix incorrect workflow.

The use of the DMAIC method in Six sigma focuses on improving existing processes by guiding one step in the project to the next as the necessary skills are applied to improve organizational performance. It ensures that an orderly and logical workflow is followed from the beginning of the project to its end to receive accurate end results.

The framework of DMAIC includes five stages:

Define- What is the real problem that must be addressed? Define the problems with the process. Then develop a work process map with step by step details.

Measure- This step requires the measurements to understand the problem better. Measurements require data; sometimes data can be collected through observation.

Analyze – This step focuses on analyzing the data to further understand the problem such as the root cause and points out the solution.

Improve- With analysis complete, the next step is to improve the workflow. This is where eliminating steps or redesigning almost every step in the work process takes place.

Control- Finally every organization establishes the monitoring and control systems to ensure that the new work process outputs conform to expected levels of performance.

These five steps provide any healthcare organization with a systematic problem-solving methodology for moving a Lean Six Sigma project from its initial stages to completion.


Purdue University. “Advance in Healthcare with Lean Six Sigma – LSS Online – Purdue.” Lean Six Sigma Online Certification & Training at Purdue University, Purdue University, 9 Feb. 2021,


About the Author

Gloria D’Souza, RHIT, is a Data Integrity Specialist at HSHS St. Vincent Hospital. She is an active volunteer on the WHIMA Membership Engagement Team. Gloria can be reached