Texas Medical System Uses Six Sigma to Improve Patient Outcomes by 75%

Texas Medical System Uses Six Sigma to Improve Patient Outcomes by 75%

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Texas Medical System Uses Six Sigma to Improve Patient Outcomes by 75%

Stop me if you’ve heard this one:

What do you get when you cross a healthcare network and a car manufacturer?

A fleet of emergency vehicles? Not exactly.

When that car manufacturer is Toyota – pioneers of the fabled Toyota Production System – you get a 75% improvement in patient outcomes.

A Process Improvement-Healthcare Partnership

In June 2016, the Children’s Health hospital network entered a partnership with the Toyota Production System Support Center (TSSC). They had one primary goal: improve the safety of their patients.

They focused their efforts on a children’s hospital in Dallas, and after a little more than a year, the results have been astounding. The prevalence of CLABSIs, a central line-associated blood stream infection, fell by a full two-thirds.


The experts at Toyota first sought to understand CLABSIs. It occurs when bacteria enter a patient’s blood stream through a central line (which is, basically, a tube placed in a vein, which has direct access to the patient’s heart). CLABSIs is rarely fatal, but it is expensive. It affects more than a quarter-million patients every year, and it costs the United States $6 billion in treatment expenses.

Because of this, the Toyota experts observed, doctors are very careful to keep their hands clean. They sterilize tools and gloves, keep their mouths covered and operate on patients with extreme care. So why were there so many cases of CLABSIs?

Reducing Risk, Increasing Patient Satisfaction

Those same physicians, Toyota noticed, were using their sterilized gloves to set their sterilized tools onto unsterilized countertops. The environment was the culprit. Not the people involved.

Together with the hospital, Toyota developed sterile pads to coat surfaces and germ-proof rooms during procedures. The results – a 75% reduction in CLABSIs – speak for themselves.

“Patients and their families place a sacred trust in us to take care of their children and make them well,” said Rustin Morse, M.D., Vice President and Chief Quality Officer at Children’s Health. “While there will always be risks associated with specialized treatment in hospital settings, we are grateful for the expertise of TSSC. Its team of the finest process improvement experts in the world helped us minimize those risks. We are also tremendously proud of our clinical team members for their commitment to excellence in patient safety.”

The Future of Six Sigma and Healthcare

Children’s Health hopes to implement the new TSSC processes in all their hospitals by the end of the year, which is great news for their medical system, and for the future of healthcare. Because medical institutions don’t need world-class process improvement experts from Toyota to help lower costs and improve patient safety.

All it takes is someone fluent in the language of Six Sigma:

  1. Identify your goals (and your timetable for completing them).
  2. Ensure those goals are aligned with tangible organizational performance measures.
  3. Get all team members fully committed to the long-term vision.
  4. Commit to proper training and leadership.

It’s not easy, but it is simple. Think about Children’s Health – they’ve created significant change with one simple tweak: keep the tools off the countertops.

“Children’s Health invited us into their units to see the clinical processes firsthand, and together we were able to implement a program that we hope can be a model process,” said Jamie Bonini, Vice President of TSSC in a news release. “By leveraging the methods of the Toyota Production System, like problem solving, standardization and rigorous training, we are pleased to help make life better for children in our new home in Texas.”

The post Texas Medical System Uses Six Sigma to Improve Patient Outcomes by 75% appeared first on Six Sigma Daily.

Original: http://www.sixsigmadaily.com/texas-medical-system-uses-six-sigma-to-improve-patient-outcomes-by-75-percent/
By: James LoPresti
Posted: October 5, 2017, 1:59 pm

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