Lean Six Sigma May Reduce Infections Related to Surgical Procedures

HealthDay News – Application of the Lean Six Sigma (LSS) methodology can reduce the risk of healthcare-associated infections among patients undergoing surgical procedures, according to a study published online in the Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice.

Emma Montella, MD, from the University Hospital “Federico II” of Naples in Italy, and colleagues assessed the application of LSS methodology to reduce the number of patients with sentinel bacterial infections who are at risk of healthcare-associated infections. Using a multidisciplinary team of physicians and academics, LSS methodology was applied in the general surgery department. Data were collected on more than 20,000 patients who underwent a wide range of surgical procedures. To examine the effects of the methodology implemented, the authors compared the preintervention (January 2011 to December 212) and postintervention (January 2013 to December 2014) phases.

The researchers observed a 20% reduction in the average number of hospitalization days between preintervention and control phases, while the reduction in the number of days of hospitalization amounted to 36. The LSS methodology ensured a significant decrease in the number of healthcare-associated infections in patients undergoing surgical interventions. Implementation of the intervention resulted in a significant reduction in the number of hospitalization days and the number of patients with healthcare-associated infections.

“This approach, together with other tools for reducing the risk of infection (surveillance, epidemiological guidelines, and training of health care personnel), could be applied to redesign and improve a wide range of healthcare processes,” the authors wrote.


Montella E, Di Cicco MV, Ferraro A, et al. The application of Lean Six Sigma methodology to reduce the risk of healthcare-associated infections in surgery departments. J Eval Clin Pract. 2016 Nov 18. doi:10.1111/jep.12662.