• Do you need to reduce Laboratory Errors? Is Six Sigma the Best Indicator of Laboratory Quality?

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Do you need to reduce Laboratory Errors? Is Six Sigma the Best Indicator of Laboratory Quality?

Jun 16 2021

Six sigma has been widely used as a quality assessment process in many settings for over thirty years.  Like so many things, it is nice and shiny from afar, but a closer look may reveal scratches and blemishes in that shiny surface.

Labmate and AWEsome Numbers are interested to learn more how you use six sigma in your quality/risk management process and invite you to complete this survey, the results of which will be in our next edition of International Labmate - Make sure you are on the list to get the next issue>>.

Take 1 min to answer some questions and no personal data is collected.

In the medical laboratory, earlier AWEsome Numbers surveys revealed conflicting understandings of the meaning of sigma, how to calculate it and what is acceptable.  Medical laboratory errors lead to delayed or missed diagnosis, incorrect patient treatment, unnecessary tests, longer stays and inflated clinical care cost.  That’s the whole point of laboratory quality control – to make sure results are good enough to make the right clinical decisions.  The survey will ask you to relate this to your setting. 

Clinical cost, which is directly proportional to patient harm, is proportional to the variation of reported results from their true values. Acceptable sigma, however, does not equal acceptable cost.

Zoe Brooks, CEO and Co-founder of AWEsome Numbers Inc., Canada, has devoted her career to the practice and improvement of quality management in medical laboratories.  In the early 1990’s, long before six sigma was introduced to the field, she programmed automated QC rule selection and problem flags based on critical systematic error.  This early concept has evolved to a risk management process called “M.O.R.E. Quality©” (Mathematically-OptimiZed Risk Evaluation©) that she believes is superior to six sigma to manage the probability (number) and severity (cost) of harm from failures.

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