Defining Six Sigma Quality

by admin on March 15, 2012

What is Six Sigma Quality?

Right from the beginning, quality has been a core focus at Quest Diagnostics and ExamOne. Six Sigma is a rigorous, data-centered approach to process improvement strategy, by which we are striving to achieve a new quality standard for the healthcare industry.

Six Sigma is focused on trying to prevent problems by building quality into processes — by not having problems in the first place. The Six Sigma method utilizes full-time dedicated Black Belts (project managers). The Black Belts receive a formal blended training program that includes 130 hours of online training and 70 hours of in class training in process analysis and statistical methods, as well as mentoring by Six Sigma experts.

Six Sigma Level Definition








“Good” companies are 3.5 sigma, which still results in 22,700 defects per million opportunities (DPMO). That is not good enough in healthcare. We believe that the healthcare industry must strive for “virtual perfection.” At ExamOne, we are dedicated to the goal of providing the highest quality to the patients whose specimens are entrusted to us.

How Six Sigma Works

At ExamOne, we are driven by customer focus. The Six Sigma method starts by asking the fundamental question: What is critical to our customers? Then rigorous analysis is applied to all processes in the business to assess whether we are delivering what customers require. Each time processes don’t deliver, that is a defect. We are passionate about using data to uncover the root causes of those defects and improving our process measures. Our ultimate objective with Six Sigma is to deliver to customers what is critical to them each and every time — to strive to achieve “virtual perfection.”

Our Six Sigma model has three aspects:

  • Process Improvement focuses on improving broken processes.
  • Process Design is aimed at developing something from nothing.  The new products and services will encompass Six Sigma principles.
  • Process Management translates Six Sigma in every day management decisions through the use of measurement systems.

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