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Integrating DEA into Six Sigma methodology for measuring health service efficiency

Feng, Q. and Antony, J. (2010) Integrating DEA into Six Sigma methodology for measuring health service efficiency. Journal of the Operational Research Society, 61 (7). pp. 1112-1121. ISSN 0160-5682

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As a linear programming technique that is used to assess performance efficiency among organizational units, data envelopment analysis (DEA) has the practical value for planners to identify the most efficient units and thus project a best possible course of actions. This is also the fundamental goal of Six Sigma methodology for process improvement. Therefore, it is natural to integrate the DEA method into the framework of Six Sigma to enhance both the usefulness of Six Sigma and the effectiveness of DEA for assessing and improving health service efficiency. In this paper, the implementation of DEA is well incorporated into the Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control process. The procedure can be well fitted into the Blackbelts training curriculum, which can also serve as a roadmap for Six Sigma practitioners to implement the DEA-enhanced projects. To illustrate how to integrate DEA into the Six Sigma framework, we present a Six Sigma project implemented to measure physician productivity in a clinical department.