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Six Sigma’ Management Strategy in Healthcare


Six Sigma is a management strategy that was adopted in the United States by healthcare institutions in order to improve the quality of services offered to patients (Frank, 2010). In line with this, the strategy aims at reducing operational costs and maximizing output. This process was embraced having been fully implemented and proved effective in other sectors. On the same note, the Six Sigma approach has been applied by manufacturing companies such as Motorola and Xerox (Frank, 2010). The strategy can also be suitably applied where there are large audiences such as in hospitals and learning institutions. Currently, Six Sigma is used as a potential decision-making tool in most corporate organizations. However, this managerial strategy may not work well unless certain underlying principles are applied.

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Principles of Six Sigma

One of the most integral areas where Six Sigma has been applied is in the recruitment and improvement of hospital personnel (Frank, 2010). As a result, it has enhanced optimum and more productive use of available resources in improving services being offered to patients. The latest empirical research indicates that through the new management approaches as advocated by Six Sigma, hospitals have filled the much-needed efficiency gap. Besides, waste reduction in hospitals has significantly improved environmental conditions for both workers and patients (Paradino, 2007).

Evaluation Principle

While managerial errors are sometimes inevitable, the consistent practice evaluation principle has greatly worked towards eliminating errors that are likely to occur (Verena, 2010). In most cases, errors and defects may not be avoided when delivering services to patients. When members of staff assess and evaluate the kind of services they offer to patients, they are likely to make corrections. Constant evaluation enhances safety in hospitals. When workers and stakeholders are able to monitor their services, they reduce emergency risks (Bassem & David, 2005). Furthermore, when patients’ problems are rightly addressed, they create some long-lasting relationship with hospital authorities; an ingredient necessary for long-term care to patients and job satisfaction among hospital staff.

Team building Principle

Additionally, Six Sigma successfully operates on a team-building principle (Barry, 2004). This facilitates the implementation of changes and the decision-making processes among the hospital workforce. Better still, this enhances coordination in leadership. The latter may also apply when executing core measures to patients such as safety initiatives, medication and maintaining health records. It is worth noting that through teamwork, members of staff, administrators and stakeholders are able to determine the strengths and weaknesses within a hospital establishment (Barry, 2004). Hence, they are in a vantage position to apply the process in improving service delivery.

Training Principle

Meanwhile, the Six Sigma process operates well on adequate training and capacity-building principles. Staffs need ample training primarily in the financial sector in order to reduce risks and increase costs (Digpal, 2010). Through the training, staffs are able to provide quality services hence receive optimum revenue. In hospitals, there is a need for workers to appropriately use the resources to avoid wastage (Verena, 2010). If this is not done, more costs will be incurred when rendering service to patients hence lowering the returns.

Good leadership culture

It is evident that Six Sigma has leadership culture Principles that enhance continued improvement in hospitals and other sectors (Chassin & Loeb, 2011). It sometimes necessitates the provision of incentives to workers hence they get motivated. Institutions that comply with the principle end up empowering workers to improve their service to customers. Moreover, a delegation of duties to the staff enhances them to exercise leadership roles (George, 2003). This increases their skill and knowledge in various fields as they interact with patients.

Maximum production principle

Finally, the maximum productive principle is a vital tool for the Six Sigma process (Barry, 2004). However, there is a secret behind getting maximum returns (Frank, 2010). The Six Sigma process insists that staff, administrators and stakeholders should provide competitive service in order to attract more clients. To achieve this, workers should not be allocated assignments in fields in which they have little or no competence on (Verena, 2010). Moreover, employees should apply the expected code of ethics when dealing with patients. There should be the proper orientation of staff before they commence their duties. This will help in building confidence as they execute their duties (Bassem & David, 2005).

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Certainly, Six Sigma optimizes patients’ satisfaction. Besides, it significantly reduces managerial errors that usually lead to losses and wastage in hospitals. However, the application of the Six Sigma management strategy in hospitals needs prior understanding and integration of appropriate principles for it to be successful.


Barry, R. (2004).Nan’s arsonist: a Six Sigma mystery. Wisconsin: ASQ Press.

Basem, E. David, M. (2005). Roy Service design for six sigma: a roadmap for excellence. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Chassin, R. & Loeb, M. (2011) “The Ongoing Quality Improvement Journey: Next Stop, High Reliability,” Health Affairs. 30, (4), 559-568.

Digpal, C. (2010). Great Health Care System: Portrait of Principles and Practice. Pennsylvania: Digpal Publishing, Inc.

Frank, M. (2010). Hayward Principled Leadership. The Six Stigma. Web.

George, L. (2003). Lean Six Sigma for service: how to Use Lean Speed and Six Sigma Quality to Improve Services and Translation. New York: McGraw-Hill.

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Paladino, B. (2007). Five key principles of corporate performance management. Hoboken: John Wiley &Sons, Inc.

Verena, L. (2010).Lean Management in Hospitals: Principles and Key Factors for Successful Implementation. Deutschland: Diplomica Publishing, Inc.

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