Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

Healthcare quality and costs are a growing problem in the United States. Healthcare organizations are facing increasing costs combined with declining quality (Schoenbaum). This unsustainable trend is putting a great burden on the health care system as a whole. The improvement of quality within the healthcare system would increase the value of the care (Schoenbaum).Improving healthcare quality, and thereby lowering the costs, is critical for the sustainability of healthcare organizations.

There are many different ways that organizations can use quality to reduce costs and increase the quality of service to their patients. There are also various ways an organization can implement quality. The processes can lead to different results and focuses. The potential processes include lean based A3 Report, Kaizen events, and Six Sigma. These processes focus on continuous improvement of quality within a process. The ideal situation would utilize these processes to create a high quality environment while lowering costs.

This report will investigate the impact of projects utilizing the A3, Kaizen, and Six Sigmamethodologies in order to improve processes efficiency,increase quality, and reduce costs of care.These methods can be applied in many different organizations, including the health care industry. The impact of these process improvement projects should be substantial and essential to the health care industry. The impact of the methodologies will be analyzed to see if they substantially reduce the costs and increase the quality. The focus of this research is on hospitals and will compare hospitals in a quality position, as defined by the 100 Top hospitals list and the MalcolmBaldrigeQuality Award recipients nationwide, and other regional hospitals in the Northeast not currently on the 100 Top lists or a Baldrige award winner. The goal of any organization should be to increase the quality of their service.

An ACPE Quality of Care Surveyfound that 18.5% of respondents utilized Six Sigma to improve quality, 13.3% utilized Lean processes, 12.2% used vendor-provided systems, 26.7% used other methods including homegrown, and 29.2% did not utilize any programs (Martin). This project looks to identify if there are trends between those that utilize the programs and positioning as a top quality performance hospital and if so what quality management programs had the biggest impact at the different types of hospitals. While this project focused on hospitals as the health care organization to be surveyed and examined, similar principals would be expected to hold true for any patient facing organization.

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