FRIDAY, May 22, 2015 (HealthDay News) — The Lean Six Sigma approach can be implemented to improve quality of care and reduce costs in prosthetic hip replacement surgery, according to a study published online May 11 in the Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice.

Giovanni Improta, Ph.D., from the University of Naples Federico II in Italy, and colleagues examined whether Lean Six Sigma represents an appropriate methodology for the development of a clinical pathway to improve quality and reduce costs associated with prosthetic hip surgery. Problem solving in Lean Six Sigma follows the Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control pathway, and is characterized by five operational phases in order to reach fixed goals.

The researchers identified several variables that influence the inappropriate prolongation of length of stay for inpatient treatment. Corrective actions were undertaken to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the care processes. There was a 44 percent reduction in the average length of stay, from 18.9 to 10.6 days after implementation of these improvement actions.

“This article shows there is no trade-off between quality and costs: Lean Six Sigma improves quality and, at the same time, reduces costs,” the authors write.

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