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Reducing patients’ falls rate in an Academic Medical Center (AMC) using Six Sigma “DMAIC” approach

Ahmed Al Kuwaiti (University of Dammam, Dammam, Saudi Arabia)
Arun Vijay Subbarayalu (University of Dammam, Dammam, Saudi Arabia)

International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance

ISSN: 0952-6862

Article publication date: 8 May 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the impact of adopting the Six Sigma define, measure, analyze, improve and control (DMAIC) approach in reducing patients fall rate in an Academic Medical Center, Saudi Arabia.

Design/methodology/approach

A prospective study design was adopted and this study was conducted at King Fahd Hospital of the University (KFHU) during the year 2014. Based on the historical data of the patients’ falls reported at KFHU during the year 2013, the goal was fixed to reduce the falls rate from 7.18 to<3 (over 60 percent reduction) by the end of December 2014. This study was conducted through the five phases of “DMAIC” approach using various quality tools. Three time periods were identified, namely, pre-intervention phase; intervention phase; and post-intervention phase. Appropriate strategies were identified through the process of brainstorming and were implemented to study the potential causes leading to the occurrence of falls.

Findings

The pre-intervention falls rate was reported as 6.57 whereas the post-intervention falls rate was measured as 1.91 (demonstrating a 70.93 percent reduction) after the implementation of improvement strategies. The adherence rate toward the practice of carrying falls risk assessment and hourly rounding was observed to be high where 88 percent of nurses are regularly practicing it. A control plan was also executed to sustain the improvements obtained.

Originality/value

The Six Sigma “DMAIC” approach improves the processes related to the prevention of falls. A greater reduction in patients falls rate (over 70 percent) was observed after the implementation of the improvement strategy.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors expressed their gratitude to the Deanship of Scientific Research, University of Dammam (UOD) for funding this research project and King Fahd Hospital of the University for providing this opportunity to conduct this research.

Citation

Kuwaiti, A.A. and Subbarayalu, A.V. (2017), "Reducing patients’ falls rate in an Academic Medical Center (AMC) using Six Sigma “DMAIC” approach", International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, Vol. 30 No. 4, pp. 373-384. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJHCQA-03-2016-0030

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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