Is there a process in your pharmacy that could analysis for eliminating errors or improving efficiency?
DMAIC is part of the Six Sigma process improvement methodology developed originally by Motorola. The acronym stands for:
- Define – articulate the business problem
- Measure – establish a baseline
- Analyze – determine root causes
- Improve – identify and test a solution
- Control – sustain improvements over time
All of Six Sigma looks to improve quality by eliminating defects in a process. These types of tools can easily be applied to most pharmacy problems where there is data that can be accumulated and analyzed.
A DMAIC initiative can work well as a team project or even as a student project. Even if the project is small, if you start innovating a little at a time, project successes can compound upon each other, and many rounds of process improvement can end up moving the needle on bigger performance goals.
For example, Tricare used DMAIC to investigate why Andrews AFB’s Dispensing Cost per Script fell outside of the 3 standard deviation range for large hospitals. (see powerpoint)
Northwestern Memorial Hospital also has process improvement programs in place and has tackled many initiatives including handwashing, VAP reduction, addressing DVT, and preventing readmissions. Pharmacy specifically used the tool to evaluate medication reconciliation.
Access the free webinar on DMAIC on our website to learn more. More detailed information regarding the use of Six Sigma and LEAN in pharmacy operations will be provided in future webinars. ASHP also provides a resource center on quality improvement practices that can help you get more familiar with the different tools available for use in your pharmacy.
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