Lean Six Sigma Reduces Medication Errors

Abstract:Medication errors are a serious threat in the healthcare industry. One mid-sized hospital interested in quality management in several areas undertook a Six Sigma project to determine what policy and practice changes might be needed to remedy the situation. The group undertaking the task consisted of a project team that included individuals who could recommend and implement interventions overseen by a steering committee representing upper management and heads of functional departments. After defining the problem, measuring the baseline, and tracking the errors, the project team began analysis of the problem to identify the root causes of the errors. A combination of lean methods and Six Sigma techniques resulted in a decrease in the total error rate from 0.33% to 0.14% in five months, a reduction in labor costs of $550,000, increased patient satisfaction, and improved employee …

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