Thursday, May 29, 2008

Six-Sigma in Medical Transcription Industry

As you all know, Six-Sigma is recommended to be adopted as it ensures quality, customer satisfaction, and increased business and money.

Six-sigma involves the statistical way of identifying the defects, frequency of defects, analysis of the defects to achieve the goal of reduction of the defects. The word defect is best suited for manufacturing units. However, for the field I am in "Medical Transcription" where the manufactured products are reports that are highly important and confidential medico-legal documents, the defects can be called here as errors. We have measures or metrics to grade each document as per the international standards and per the six-sigma concept the allowed errors are to be less than 15 per 1000 lines.

Customer Satisfaction = Less than 15 errors per thousand lines (EPT)

So keeping the customer satisfaction as the GOAL, we get into work of minimizing the errors to less than 15 per 1000 lines.

1. We study the root cause of the errors. Eg. Skills of the individual, accent of the dictator, technical reasons if any, lack of comprehension/judgment, omission of process steps (eg. failure to proofread), lack of researching and referencing, wrongly classified as error, so on and so forth.

2. After identifying the root cause, we go on to implement the countermeasures to arrest the errors. It is to be noted that we cannot achieve the "Less than 15 EPT lines" status at the very first step itself. It is a process of testing and implementation. Initially, the errors may be more but with the analysis of the errors, root cause, and the implementation of the countermeasures, the errors would progressively reduce to reach LESS THAN 15 EPT lines.
This phase involves education and training of the MTs and QAs. Involves ensure of entire process steps completion, judgment training, knowledge sharing, motivation, and eliminating technical set-backs and issues that contribute to the errors.

3. Control measures: This step is to sustain the quality. This involves monitoring of the quality, tracking of the progress of quality through charts and metrics to ensure that process steps are not omitted. The compilation of metamorphosis of quality is submitted to the Top Management for their perusal. Also, comparative study is involved to analyze the progress.

This is in brief how Six-Sigma concept can be implemented in medical transcription industry.

- Shanta Daniel

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