Lean Six Sigma and its implementation in Hospitals

When it comes to healthcare,

the room for error is very little and simple mis-steps will impact lives, significantly. The novel coronavirus pandemic was a demonstration of how healthcare organisations lack in terms of efficiency, productivity and customer satisfaction. In developing countries, these problems were bigger, since healthcare systems were excessively burdened.

Now that we have left behind the worst of the pandemic crisis, it is time to re-evaluate and understand the cause of these lapses and try to build stronger healthcare organisations that can deal more effectively with the daily flow of work as well as crisis situations.

How lean six sigma can be applied to hospitals?

Lean Six Sigma is a methodology that is used to improve efficiency and effectiveness in various industries, including healthcare. By combining the principles of Lean and Six Sigma, hospitals can streamline their processes and reduce waste, ultimately leading to better patient care and lower costs.

Broadly, there seem to be three areas that the principles of lean six sigma can be applied viz., patient flows, supply chain management and quality of care. Let’s look at each of these

  1. Patient flows – Identification of bottlenecks in the patient flow from one department to another, leading upto their eventual discharge is the first step; followed by the application of lean six sigma principles, tools and techniques.  A thorough analysis and reduction of wait time for patients have been known to result in increased facility capacity and ultimately patient satisfaction.
  2. Supply chain management: A similar analysis of the supply chain flow and actionable measures to cut off unnecessary wait, time & motion and flows throughout the hospital will reduce waste and improve overall efficiency, resulting in cost savings and improved patient care.
  3. Quality of care: Timely assessment and adequate treatment form the crux of quality care in a hospital set up. Any cause of delay in either of these two crucial elements can impact the quality of care the patient receives. In order to ensure that the patient receives the best quality care, hospitals must have a seamless link of communication of knowledge and clinical data between departments, appropriate clinical expertise, adequate space and the right equipment available at the right time. All of these put together as one continuous piece, without any breakdowns or exceptions will ensure quality care.


Overall, the implementation of Lean Six Sigma in hospitals can lead to improved efficiency, reduced costs, and improved patient outcomes. By eliminating waste and improving processes, hospitals can provide better care to patients and increase their capacity to serve more patients. It is a powerful tool for healthcare organizations looking to improve the quality of their services.

It’s important to note that Lean Six Sigma implementation requires a commitment from the hospital leadership and staff. It’s a process that requires training, resources, and time to be successful. But with the right approach and leadership, the benefits of Lean Six Sigma in healthcare can be truly transformative.

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