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Six Sigma used in Healthcare

Shields Health Care Group CIO, Chuck Spurr, as he discusses how to securely handle the challenges around information flowing across multiple systems and the use of Six Sigma as the framework for improvement.

Orlando, Florida : Health IT Conference, Feb 19 – Feb 23, 2017
“You have to take a hard honest look at what you are doing today. Six Sigma is good at that,”
said Chuck Spurr the CIO at Shields Health Care Group, speaking on the opening day of the Health IT Conference in Orlando, Florida

“First we were throwing software at the problem, but that’s a problem with IT. We build to the specs we are given. So when software alone doesn’t solve issues, we blame everybody, the users, the specs, we blame all over the place.”
In Six Sigma, “all over the place” doesn’t cut it, especially when it comes to the data leaders need to been able to trust in order to make decisions.
Breaking it down, Six Sigma is all about organizing processes and fostering open communication. For example, Spurr said Shields previously grappled with a low rate of payment from patients, but there were concerns that removing patients who wouldn’t pay would cause an uproar among the referral community. The problem, though, was Shields didn’t have any real data to support those concerns. So Shields isolated one pilot location to measure complaints, and in the end, they really didn’t have many. Couple that with the launch of a pre-service collection process and Shields ended up getting 30 percent of payments up front. Something they had not expected.

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