Is Health Care Ready for Six Sigma Quality?
Article first published online: 26 DEC 2001
Milbank Memorial Fund 1998
The Milbank Quarterly
Volume 76, Issue 4, pages 565–591, December 1998
How to Cite
Chassin, M. R. (1998), Is Health Care Ready for Six Sigma Quality?. Milbank Quarterly, 76: 565–591. doi: 10.1111/1468-0009.00106
- Issue published online: 26 DEC 2001
- Article first published online: 26 DEC 2001
- Cited By
Serious, widespread problems exist in the quality of U.S. health care: too many patients are exposed to the risks of unnecessary services; opportunities to use effective care are missed; and preventable errors lead to injuries. Advanced practitioners of industrial quality management, like Motorola and General Electric, have committed themselves to reducing the frequency of defects in their business processes to fewer than 3.4 per million, a strategy known as Six Sigma Quality. In health care, quality problems frequently occur at rates of 20 to 50 percent, or 200,000 to 500,000 per million. In order to approach Six Sigma levels of quality, the health care sector must address the underlying causes of error and make important changes: adopting new educational models; devising strategies to increase consumer awareness; and encouraging public and private investment in quality improvement.