Reducing and Optimizing the Hospital Discharge Process using Six Sigma Approach
López Villanueva, Elvin E.
In today’s world, the competitive environment in the healthcare industries leaves no margin for error. As such, new ways to improve the patient’s expectations on a continuous basis by focusing on technical and human skills; and developing cost effective methodologies are imperative. In order to improve the quality of healthcare system and because patient comfort and satisfaction are vital, the processes of discharging patients from medical facilities must be addressed accordingly. Some of the benefits of having an efficient discharge protocol are, but not limited to, bed availability for emergency scenarios, selective admissions (arrange in advance), an increase in customer satisfaction and hospital profitability. Therefore, this study aimed to minimize the patient’s discharge time by 20% using the Six Sigma DMAIC Model approach in a multidisciplinary hospital setting in Puerto Rico’s West area. Major findings in this study indicated that using a Six Sigma approach could improve patient flow by decreasing length of stay and wait time. Moreover, this method can improve patient volume in hospitals resulting in higher profitability. This study can serve as an example for healthcare managers to reduce and optimize the hospital discharge processes; allowing for a greater influx of patients, increased profit and yet maintaining high customer satisfaction. Key Terms – Discharge Process, DMAIC Model, Hospital, Six Sigma.