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The term “Six Sigma” is used to refer to:

  • An approach
  • A measurable goal
  • A methodology
  • A business strategy to drive out defects and waste and improve the quality, cost and time performance of any business and healthcare organization

Sigma, a letter in the Greek alphabet, is used as a symbol to denote the standard deviation of a process (standard deviation is a measure of variation).

A process with “Six Sigma” capability means having six standard deviations between the process mean and either specification limit. Six Sigma is a statistical term that denotes a process is 99.9997% defect free. Sigma levels of performance are expressed as Defects per Million Opportunities (DPMO); how many errors would occur if an activity were repeated one million times. Essentially, process variation is reduced so that no more than 3.4 part per million fall outside the specification limits. The higher the sigma level the better.

Six Sigma teams include rigorous data collection and analysis to produce statistically significant root factors that are improved permanently. Six Sigma utilizes a systematic five-phase approach to problem solving called DMAIC (including tools and techniques); Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control.

LEAN methodology utilizes a team approach with tools and techniques, to focus on providing customer’s needs with improved efficiency and waste elimination. Entire value streams and processes are looked at rather than one or two points in the process. Data is also analyzed to lead to sustained improvement.

LEAN and Six Sigma methodologies provide our clients with:

  • Improved customer and patient satisfaction
  • Improved process efficiency and the elimination of rework
  • Improved throughput and flow of processes
  • Improved employee productivity
  • Improved utilization of supply management and the elimination of waste
  • Increased revenue and cost savings

Tools used for Six Sigma and Lean include:

  • Team charter with problem statement, business case, scope and goals
  • Process maps
  • Fishbone (Cause and Effect) Diagram
  • Threat Opportunity Matrix
  • Graphical description of data
  • LEAN 5S (Sort, Set, Shine, Standardize, Sustain)
  • Payoff Matrix
  • Control Impact Matrix
  • Risk Assessment
  • Action planning template


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