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Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center’s Venture into Becoming an Institution of Self-Sufficient Problem Solvers

Presenter: Paul Christman, Senior Performance Improvement Consultant, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, NH, USA

Keywords: DMAIC, Lean Six Sigma, Transformation

Industry: Healthcare

Level: Intermediate


The medical industry as a whole has been very slow to catch on to process improvement techniques. While private and public companies were beginning to embrace process improvements, hospitals thought that it wasn’t for them as they weren’t, “In the business of building cars”, they were “in the business of curing people”.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center(DHMC) has a long history of focusing on patient safety and quality improvement. This went back to 1987 when Total Quality Management(TQM) was adopted at DHMC.

This effort was quickly followed by ‘TDI’, ‘100,000 Lives Campaign’, “Mission , Vision, Goals and Strategic Priorities’, and ‘Leaders in Quality & Patient Safety’. These programs started out fairly strong and then fizzled out quickly. They helped somewhat in DHMC’s goal of being in the top 5% for quality in the U.S. But not until 2010 when the Value Institute was chartered, did the true transformation take hold. Of course in reviewing all of the previous programs, sustainability came up as a major component. So this was a major concern when the Value Institute was formed and research began to determine the ‘best’ method to adopt to improve performance.

This presentation will go into how DHMC decided to go with the Lean Six Sigma methodology and how training and coaching models were built. Discussion on the transformation will be included along with examples of projects, the current state overview and lessons learned.

This presentation is designed to help any leader who is looking to develop/implement a rock solid long lasting deployment of process improvement in their business.

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