IHA case studies

Lean Six Sigma Enhances the Traditional Hospital-Based Root Cause Analysis


The organization sought to create a root cause analysis (RCA) structure that endowed greater focus, efficiency and effectiveness in the process. The health system had already broadly implemented a Lean Six Sigma-based (LSS) approach to quality improvement, which led to tremendous gains for the entire health care payer system through its systematic, data-driven and highly efficient process improvement models. The organization therefore sought to implement a similar model for revising the RCA process by using the LSS Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control (DMAIC) structure as the base.

By utilizing the DMAIC as the structure for RCAs, the organization was able to create a model that ensured rapid turnaround of event reviews and process changes that impacted the true root cause(s), as well as support the just culture model that creates an engaged and satisfied workforce.

This case study is part of the Illinois Health and Hospital Association's annual Quality Excellence Achievement Awards. Each year, IHA recognizes and celebrates the achievements of Illinois hospitals and health systems in continually improving and transforming health care in the state. These organizations are improving health by striving to achieve the Triple Aim—improving the patient experience of care (including quality and satisfaction), improving the health of populations, and reducing the per capita cost of health care—and the Institute of Medicine’s six aims for improvement—safe, effective, patient centered, timely, efficient, and equitable. To learn more, visit https://www.ihaqualityawards.org/javascript-ui/IHAQualityAward/

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