The Lean Six Sigma method is a process analysis methodology that focuses on improving customer requirements understanding, business systems, productivity, and financial performance . Motorola invented Six Sigma with the goal of setting tolerance limits for defective products at 3.4 units per million.
The aim of this paper is to describe the application of a Lean Six Sigma approach to the medical laboratory services in hospital especially concerning with the front office performances and quality perception by patients. The project team, which included medical, technical and administrative personnel, defined four main Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): ‘waiting time’, ‘check-in time’, ‘number of queue abandonments’ and ‘number of check-ins.’ A Value Stream Mapping of the current state was implemented through the use of data from hospital software and field measurements.
The methodology turned out to be a proper tool for the process optimization in designing the new front office at the laboratory services. It was able to provide important information to the decision management such as the workload assessment and the specific workstation planning. The check-in phase is already well sized for the customer needs while a light empowerment should be given to the payment machines. No need of further personnel is estimated for the future state according to the workload leveling.
Further developments include periodic comparisons between the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) evaluated for the old and future front offices in order to validate the goals achievements.