Lean Sigma – Rebuilding Capacity in Healthcare

 Continuous Improvement and Performance Improvement ToolsIntroduction and Alignment

This discussion will focus on evaluating the systematic approach to improving performance. The discussion will also illustrate common performance improvement models. Once an opportunity for improvement has been identified, for example in the skin cancer unit in a walk-in clinic, then an improvement team is established with the people most familiar with the dermatology department. Next, improvement projects are created using analytical tools to scrutinize the failures and successes in the clinic, and performance improvement tools are developed to emphasize the successes and correct or eliminate the failures.

Upon completion of this assignment, you should be able to:

  • Dissect the complexities and challenges in a variety of healthcare facilities.
  • Demonstrate how healthcare facilities identify their problems, what tools they employ to correct them, and what sequelae develop.
  • Discuss continuous improvement and performance improvement tools.


  • Textbook: Introduction to Healthcare Quality Management
  • Textbook: Lean Sigma – Rebuilding Capacity in Healthcare

Background Information

Performance improvement is the last phase of healthcare quality management. Once an opportunity for improvement has been identified (unacceptable increased morbidity and mortality in the skin cancer clinic, for example), action must be taken to find and fix the cause of the unfavorable performance (increased and more timely and accurate detection of skin cancers). Performance improvement models, such as the Plan-Do-Study-Act cycle (PDSA) and Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle (PDCA), FADE model, corrective action plan, Lean Model of Improvement, Muda, etc., are used by many different industries all over the world employing Six Sigma and Lean Sigma principles to increase productivity and eliminate errors.

To get performance improvement, you need to use performance improvement tools, which are quantitative and qualitative. Tools such as brainstorming, multi-voting, nominal group technique, affinity diagrams, cause-and-effect diagrams, decision matrices, flowcharts, workflow diagrams, stakeholder analyses, and response scales can be employed in performance improvement applying Lean Sigma and Six Sigma protocols to the healthcare workplace.


  1. Review the following chapters in the textbook Introduction to Healthcare Quality Management:
  2. Chapter 5, “Continuous Improvement”
  3. Chapter 6, “Performance Improvement Tools”
  4. Navigate to the threaded discussion below and respond to the following discussion prompts:
  5. Explain differences between different models.
  6. Highlight the steps in a performance improvement project.
  7. Illustrate performance improvement tools. How do Lean Sigma and Six Sigma apply in these models?