A patient-centric Six-Sigma decision support system framework for continuous quality improvement in clinics

Hlongwane, S. N. ; Ngongoni, C. N. ; Grobbelaar, S. S. (2019-11-15)

CITATION: Hlongwane, S., Ngongoni, C. & Grobbelaar, S. S. 2019. A patient-centric Six-Sigma decision support system framework for continuous quality improvement in clinics. South African Journal of Industrial Engineering, 30(3):224-237, doi:10.7166/30-3-2241.

The original publication is available at http://sajie.journals.ac.za

Article

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Primary health care facilities are widely regarded as the backbone of the South African healthcare system. For this reason, formalised standards such as the ‘ideal clinic’ and ‘national core standards’ dictate expected service levels for clinics. Although this is a big step towards the improvement of service delivery at the facilities, the level of uptake of and adherence to these standards is concerning. Service quality plays a huge role in the level of patient satisfaction, and emphasis is placed on the features of quality that are of importance to the patient. To this end, the focus on the patient is an important dimension in healthcare quality management in order to improve the service quality in healthcare facilities. This article provides an overview of quality and how it is managed in the context of clinics in South Africa. It outlines the gaps, aligned with how well quality is managed, from a patient perspective. The paper proposes a decision support framework aimed at continuous improvement of quality in clinics. The tool was developed using the Six Sigma methodology, complemented by service quality assessment instruments. The structure of the tool provides an integrated systematic approach that can assist the healthcare decision-maker in tracking the continuous improvement of processes and activities in clinics. The tool also takes the first step towards digitising a typical paper-based system.

AFRIKAANS OPSOMMING: Primêre gesondheidsorgfasiliteite word wyd beskou as die ruggraat van die Suid-Afrikaanse gesondheidsorgstelsel. Om hierdie rede word formele standaarde deur die ‘ideale kliniek’ en ‘Nasionale kernstandaarde’ bepaal. Alhoewel dit ʼn groot stap is vir die verbetering van dienslewering by die fasiliteite, is die vlak van opname en nakoming van hierdie standaarde kommerwekkend. Diensgehalte speel ʼn groot rol in die vlak van pasiëntbevrediging, en klem word geplaas op die eienskappe van kwaliteit wat van belang is vir die pasiënt. Vir hierdie doel is die fokus op die pasiënt ʼn belangrike dimensie in gesondheidsorgkwaliteitsbestuur ten einde die diensgehalte in gesondheidsorgfasiliteite te verbeter. Hierdie artikel bied ʼn oorsig oor kwaliteit en hoe dit in die konteks van klinieke in Suid-Afrika bestuur word. Dit beskryf die gapings van hoe goed kwaliteit bestuur word, uit ʼn pasiëntperspektief. Die artikel stel ʼn besluitsteunraamwerk voor wat op deurlopende verbetering van gehalte in klinieke gemik is. Die instrument is ontwikkel met behulp van die Ses-Sigma metodologie, aangevul deur dienskwaliteit assesseringsinstrumente. Die struktuur van die instrument bied ʼn geïntegreerde sistematiese benadering wat die gesondheidsorgbesluitnemer kan help om die deurlopende verbetering van prosesse en aktiwiteite in klinieke te monitor. Die instrument neem ook die eerste stap in die rigting van digitalisering van ʼn tipiese papiergebaseerde stelsel.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/106846
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