What is it about?

In this study, the Lean Six Sigma (LSS) was used to reduce the risk of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). The LSS was applied to the area of clinical medicine and data regarding HAIs were collected on 28,000 hospitalized patients. Following the LSS DMAIC (define, measure, analyse, improve, and control) cycle, factors influencing the risk of HAIs were identified by using typical LSS tools. Finally, corrective measures to prevent HAIs were implemented and monitored over a year after implementation. The LSS approach with its corrective actions produced a significant decrease (over 42%) in the percentage of infected patients in hospitals.

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Why is it important?

The lack of resources to satisfy healthcare needs, together with the need for excellent performance and safe healthcare, are reasons for finding and adopting managerial strategies to minimize costs and reduce waste while improving the quality of services provided. Management tools must be adopted to ensure proper analysis of complex hospital systems and to improve and monitor these from both clinical and economic perspectives. This study demonstrates that the LSS approach allows healthcare professionals to increase process efficiency, reduce healthcare costs, and improve the quality of service and therefore of the healthcare system. In addition, the proposed strategy and quality control cycle could be implemented to continuously improve healthcare processes and ensure high quality standards.


Writing this article has been a great pleasure as it has co-authors with whom I have had long-standing and very fruitful collaborations. This article shows once again the great potential of the Lean Six Sigma methodology in the healthcare sector.

Dr. Giovanni Improta
Universita degli Studi di Napoli Federico II

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Reducing the risk of healthcare-associated infections through Lean Six Sigma: The case of the medicine areas at the Federico II University Hospital in Naples (Italy), Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, November 2017, Wiley,
DOI: 10.1111/jep.12844.
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