Measurement Phase: Lean Six Sigma in Healthcare Tutorial

4.1 Module 4 Measurement

Hello and welcome to the fourth module of the Lean Six Sigma in Healthcare course offered by Simplilearn.   The DMAIC process is the foundation of LSS projects. DMAIC stands for the project phases of Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control.   This module is dedicated to the second of these phases, measuring the process to acquire relevant data.   Let us explore the objectives of this lesson in the next screen.

4.2 Topic 1 Process Mapping

Mapping a process in detail helps us to gain a better understanding of how things actually happen but there are some traps to be careful of. For example, there are 3 ways a process can be represented at any given time; what people think the process is, what the process actually is, and what the process should be. Let’s explore each of these in the following screens.

4.3 Topic 2 Data Collection

Data can sometimes be discrete and sometimes be continuous.   Discrete data is finite. It cannot be divided. Examples of discrete data are a count of something (like the number of unanswered calls, or a count of the type of procedures performed in a given month).   Continuous data is a measurement like time, weight, cost, and length for example. Continuous data is much more versatile for statistical analysis and should therefore be favoured whenever possible.   Sometimes in improvement projects, teams may already have access to data that they can use whereas in other projects they may not. For example, perhaps your project requires you to take an inventory of the quantities of different types of procedures done in an year on a day-to-day basis. Rather than starting to measure from day 1, this data can most likely be obtained from the financial system or some other database, so there is no need to start measuring from scratch. However, it’s important to keep in mind that you must always validate the data you gather, whether it’s new data from sampling, observation, or existing data extracted from systems. Errors do happen, and assuming that all data is 100% accurate without verification, can be a costly mistake leading your team to wrong conclusions.   In the next screen we’ll discuss how to collect data through sampling using a data collection sheet.

4.4 Topic 3 Useful Measurement Tools

In this topic, we’ll be covering 2 very useful tools for LSS projects, the Pareto chart and brainstorming. While we are explaining them in this Measure phase module, both of these tools can easily be used in other phases of an improvement project.   In the next screen we’ll discuss Pareto chart, which is a very useful tool to help focus further analysis when a project team has some data.  

4.5 Topic 4 Case Study

Our friend John at Mercy West regional hospital is still going full speed ahead with his project. If you recall, he was tasked to figure out a way to improve the overflowing ED, but after reviewing the process, he decided to focus on the discharge process first, more specifically, the administrative and financial process steps (which accounted for 30% of the total discharge process cycle time.   John didn’t have any additional data for the Analyze phase so he had to devise a data collection strategy. John decided to gather data over a 3-week period. He had to cover every day of the week and every shift of each day, so he decided to create a data collection sheet in the form of 2 travellers (the first would accompany the discharge order written by the doctor and the second would be with the discharge sheet). Once the patient was discharged, John would recover both travellers from the records department and then he would consolidate his data on a spreadsheet.   John’s travellers would include the actual date and time stamp in and out for each process contributor action as well as the duration of effort to complete the task.   With this information, John will be able to complete his VSM by calculating the Takt time, NVA time, and the overall process efficiency.

4.6 Quiz

You will now attempt a quiz to test what you’ve learned so far.

4.7 Summary

Here is a quick recap of what was covered in this module: While a process map lays out the steps in a process, a value stream map looks at a process from the customer perspective. The goal of data collection is to have meaningful, well-founded, and unbiased data. A data collection sheet can take on various forms and be used in several ways. A Pareto chart is a graph that illustrates individual values of frequency of occurrence or other important values and also the cumulative percent total. Brainstorming is an effective method to generate a large quantity of ideas in a short period of time.

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