April 17, 2011

Virtua Health using six sigma: Taking a cue from GE electric

Virtua health is a four hospital system in New Jersey. It was created in 1998 through the merger of West Jersey Health System and Memorial Health Alliance of Burlington County. It has now become a dominant player in the New Jersey suburbs of Philadelphia, bringing together four hospitals, two ambulatory surgery centres, two long-term care facilities, a health fitness centre, and a home health company. Virtua in order to become more competitive in the market thought to change management and operating culture at fundamental level by applying six sigma procedure.
A cultural transformation program called STAR initiative was started which was aimed for creating an outstanding patient experience. The aim was to transform Virtua into a high performing organization making quick decisions,  removing bureaucratic barriers for employees and physicians in order to create an outstanding patient experience, and driven by valid measurement and accountability for results. To implement the STAR initiative Virtua tied up with GE medical systems.
Six Sigma at Virtua
The partnership between GE and Virtua began in September 2000. GE Medical Systems representatives taught Virtua the Six Sigma tools, including the key components, the Change Acceleration Process (CAP) and Workout. Workout refers to getting extraneous work out of a process through brainstorming. It helps in removing barriers between departments and generates the action steps. CAP refers to a range of management tools to drive strategic change by getting everyone speaking a same language and making all stakeholders to accept the change. Six full time “Black-Belts” have been identified and they work on any issue identified by management. They brainstorm with the key stakeholders involved and stakeholders get organizational support in this fashion as the black belts represent the entire organization. It has also helped in improving the organizational culture.
Moreover six sigma projects have been identified in fields of             
  • Improve patient satisfaction in the emergency room and medical/surgical units.                    
  • Improve throughput (cases/day) in two of the systems' busiest operating rooms 
  • Find a way to rapidly hire the best employees       
  • Improve employee retention in such critical areas as nursing   
  • Improve the revenue cycle
  • Improve the efficiency of home health nurses
  • Reduce errors in the use of high risk meditations
  • Reduce length of stay for elderly patients with congestive heart failure.

Several other workout projects have been successfully completed throughout the Virtua health care system. Virtua has trained 60 coaches who are experts in CAP and workout methods. So, Six sigma is helping in enabling the whole organization through these skills.
The six sigma methodology has helped Virtua clients/employees to:
·         Be generally informed about the project, process, and projected outcomes in all domains of the health care system
·         Participate in goal setting
·         Understand how to interpret quality
·         Base their directives on hard information
·         Evaluate progress and judge success

References : http://search.proquest.com/docview/204788093?accountid=274812
The writer of this article, Naman Jain, a PGP student of Indian Institute of Management, Raipur has worked in GE Healthcare Labs. He has done his B.Tech in Computer Science & Engineering from Vellore Institute of Technology, Vellore and can be reached at namanvit @ gmail . com


  1. I also think that Sig sigma could help BI specially in the section of defining effective KPIs.
    It is a broad concept and contains lots of techniques with which we could improve business processes. However, using theses techniques is strictly depends on how much the stakeholders want to be adherent to Six Sigma.
    Six Sigma Certification

  2. Thank for the health tips it's a really nice tips for a body fitness really i like them.