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Process Improvement

process improvement, process optimization, Avethan

Process improvement is used to analyze, identify and improve existing internal operations. These approaches can be applied in any role in a healthcare organization, from patient care to operations to customer service, and are essential tools for teams to ensure their daily tasks, policies, or procedures run efficiently.

Additionally, they can help you develop, publish, and post the safest ways to perform a task at your organization, helping reduce the risk of malpractice claims. Luckily for medical teams, more than a few methodologies are available to accomplish this goal!

Tools and Techniques to Improve Your Processes

Process improvement methodologies typically include aspects of:

  • analyzing processes

  • establishing baselines

  • collecting data

  • developing solutions

  • implementing changes

  • monitoring results

Some of the most common process improvement methods include Six Sigma, Lean, and Total Quality Process Management.

All methods have advantages and disadvantages, so carefully consider what is best for your team before implementing any in your organization.

Six Sigma

Six Sigma is a business management strategy with the goal that only correct decisions are made about quality control. It is an improvement process based on data-driven decision-making and problem-solving techniques.

The framework uses a number system to highlight the differences between higher and lower performance levels. While Six Sigma focuses on definite improvements to ensure that only correct decisions are made about quality, it also can require rigorous testing measures, long analysis timelines, and arduous data gathering.

Due to this, computerized data analytics could be beneficial. The final results generate a culture of continuous improvement, leading to higher patient satisfaction and better business results.


Lean principles are based on the Japanese concept of "kaizen," which approximates "continuous improvement." The steps include:

  • identifying customer needs

  • streamlining processes

  • eliminating waste

  • establishing feedback loops

  • continuously improving

Lean focuses on the specific areas where costs can be reduced without negatively impacting care or safety. This process-based approach allows leaders to continuously adapt Lean practices in an organization's daily operations but within parameters that enable it to become sustainable over time.

Total Quality Management

Total Quality Management (TQM) are a set of practices to ensure that organizations deliver quality products and services to their customers. W. Edwards Deming, an American statistician, and professor, developed it. Deming's philosophy of TQM was based on his belief that quality should be built into the product or service from the start rather than inspected at the end of production. Many of the steps in TQM likely look familiar to the reader at this point:

  • identifying customer needs and expectations

  • setting goals

  • implementing quality control measures

  • analyzing data for trends and patterns

  • making changes based on feedback from customers and employees

  • monitoring performance over time

  • revising processes as needed.

Today, many healthcare practices have adopted TQM as part of their business strategy and have seen numerous benefits from its implementation, from increased patient retention to higher returns on investments on their balance sheets.

Start Making Improvements to Your Business Processes

Taking time to review your current processes and implement a methodology for continuous improvement can help your team  streamline service delivery, lower expenses, and ensure ongoing compliance. By identifying inefficient tasks and outdated practices, you gain opportunities to reallocate resources and boost outcomes.

However, managing a process improvement initiative on your own can be daunting given day-to-day priorities and lack of dedicated expertise. This is where Avethan can provide value. We have extensive experience helping healthcare organizations just like yours analyze workflows, standardize best practices, track metrics over time, and hardwire process management into your culture.

Contact us today to learn how we can work collaboratively with your team. Through our proven approach and project management, you can tackle process weaknesses without straining your existing resources.