Quality Improvement initiatives, evidence-based practice initiatives, and research can overlap and intermingle. Clearly understanding which is which and the role of each can become muddled. Take a look at this article by Dr. Ginex for a refresher. It is brief, well-organized, and written for nurses.
PDSA allows the user to test a change in a microcosm before launching a full-scale operation. PDSA is accessible and simple for smaller facilities.
Motorola developed the Six Sigma process in 1986 as a quality improvement process. Like Lean, Six Sigma was geared toward production-based businesses, but the process has been adapted by the healthcare industry. However, where Lean management is focused on eliminating waste and ensuring efficiency, Six Sigma focuses is on eliminating defects and reducing variability.
The Six Sigma principles are:
Many institutions, like Purdue, offer online and in-person training in Six Sigma for healthcare.
Choose a method that you can easily implement in your organization. Consider the staff hours that will go into the QI model and plan, the number of staff available, available funding, and the scale of the project.
Larger projects with more funding may enable you to enlist Six Sigma consultants. PDSA may be more useful for a smaller change with less funding.
Lean is based on the Toyota Motor Company 5 Why's Technique, which asks "why" until the root cause of a problem is found. This technique has traditionally been geared toward production-based business models (like auto manufacturing). However, healthcare has adapted the model for QI purposes.
Accomplishes this through:
Organizations like the Lean Enterprise Institute, the Virginia Mason Institute, and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement offer information, training, and support for implementing Lean management principles.