Lean Six Sigma for Healthcare

Graduate Diploma Lean Six Sigma for Healthcare
What is meant by "Lean thinking"?
The seeds of Lean were sown by many innovators but Toyota is credited as being the forefather of Lean as we know it today. Simply put, for healthcare staff, Lean means finding the time to do the work you have to do, in the time you have to do it. Lean thinking is not typically associated with healthcare, due to its association with the motor industry. But the principles of Lean management can, in fact, work in health care in much the same way they do in other industries. Internationally, many healthcare organisations are successfully using Lean thinking to streamline processes, reduce cost, and most importantly improve the quality, experience of, and timely delivery of services to patients. Six Sigma simply means a measure of quality that strives for near perfection. Six Sigma is a disciplined, data-driven approach and methodology for eliminating defects and unwanted variation in any process – and works particularly well in use with Lean.

When applied rigorously and throughout an entire healthcare organisation, Lean Six Sigma principles can have a positive impact on patient, relative and staff experience of care, and on outcomes. While sceptics are right when they say, "Patients are not cars," healthcare is, in fact, delivered in extraordinarily complex organisations, with thousands of interacting processes. Many aspects of Lean and Six Sigma methodologies therefore can and do apply to the processes of delivering care. UCD Lean Graduates have applied Lean Six Sigma successfully to improve experiences and outcomes for staff and patients in areas as diverse as Stroke Thrombolysis, Patient Scheduling, Procurement, Data coding, ward and unit design, Rehabilitation, Hip Fracture Pathways, Pharmacy, Pathology, Radiology and Community Health.

This interdisciplinary programme builds on the Professional Certificate in Lean Six Sigma (Green Belt) and is designed to prepare the student for implementing Lean throughout their healthcare organisation. It will lay the groundwork for building a Lean Six Sigma healthcare transformation by training the student in researching, implementing, innovating and leading on change in their own organisation and in Lean Six Sigma theory and Project Management. The programme currently welcomes students from 22 healthcare institutions across all hospital groups in Ireland.

Integral to our approach to Lean Six Sigma is working with Person-centred approaches to care delivery to maximise the synergies of Lean Six Sigma, and to ensure that our programmes align with the principles of Person-centred Cultures of Care.

The ECTS credits earned contribute to the credit requirements of the MSc Leadership, Innovation and Management for Healthcare (90 ECTS credits).

Where and how is the training delivered?
The training is delivered on campus in the UCD Health Sciences building. Self-directed study takes place throughout the duration of the year long Programme. The Programme is delivered via 6 modules utilising lectures, online components and clinical placements with relevant academic assessment. Academic assessment is via individual academic assignments and the development of a full Black Belt Project from Define to Control Phase (DMAIC) within 1 year of commencing Programme. Full support and coaching is provided by our lecturers in delivering a Lean healthcare based project.

Course objectives
Indicative learning outcomes: on completion the student will be able to:
•lead on Lean Six Sigma improvement initiatives as an engaged and informed Black Belt
•demonstrate and teach Lean Six Sigma principles, methods, and tools to optimise care delivery and support processes
•utilise advanced Lean Six Sigma methodologies and tools to optimise care delivery and support processes
•be a skilled practitioner of implementation science and researching change in their own organisation
•carry out healthcare research to support and underpin organisational Lean Six Sigma projects
•manage complex Lean Six Sigma healthcare cases
•Evidence knowledge and understanding of problem solving principles, tools and techniques to deliver Lean Six Sigma project outcomes
•demonstrate the ability to analyse and draw conclusions from data through the use of analytical and statistical techniques
•demonstrate, through developing and leading a solo project understanding of the effectiveness of the Lean Six Sigma DMAIC methodology in Healthcare
•deliver Value Add for patients, staff and customers
•demonstrate the ability to overcome resistance to change in an organisation through effective communication with and influencing of key stakeholders utilising Lean Six Sigma methodologies

Entry requirements

Healthcare Professionals must have completed the Professional Certificate in Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Programme with UCD or another accredited provider to Level 8. The applicant must evidence that they are an active Lean Practitioner and must have the support of their Senior Line manager.

Assessment Info

Assessment Strategies
•Module specific Academic Assignment
•Module specific group and individual presentation
•Incremental Project Development and delivery over the duration of the Programme
•Final project presentation to UCD expert panel (candidates must pass this assessment to be eligible for a academic award)

Subjects taught

List of core modules:
• Research Methodologies (15 credits: Semester 1) and either
• Nursing Leadership for Primary Care & Community Care or
• Nursing Leadership in Health Systems Contexts)

List of specialist modules:
(Remaining 30 or 37.5 ECTS from any combination of the following, subject to module entry requirements):
• Clinical Practicum Stroke Care
• Specialist Nursing Theory on Stroke Care
• Pain Management
• Protecting Older People
• Strategic Management and Health Systems Planning
• Psycho-oncology
• Rehabilitation, Recovery & Social Inclusion
• Management of Information in Health care
• E-Health: A Multidisciplinary Imperative
• Quality, Patient Safety & Outcomes
• Health Assessment
• Health, Illness and Aging
• Quality of Life and Outcomes Evaluation
• Managing Chronic Illness
• Holistic Rheumatology
• Symptom Management and Nursing Intervention
• Theoretical Bases of Nursing
• Community Nursing Applied


1 year Full Time

Attendance requirement:
•Programme attendance dates are specified on the application form.
•18 days attendance (UCD)
•Time for self-directed learning, research, data analysis and Project development

Self-Directed study:
•Module specific Academic assignments
•Self-directed learning and relevant team/group work following each classroom session
•Development and delivery of a Black Belt Project from Define to Control Phase (DMAIC) within 1 year of commencing Programme


The fees for your programme can be found at the links below. Search using your major code (the four-digit code beginning with 'X' which can be found in the key information box on this page).
•EU fees information
•Non-EU fees information

Please note that UCD fees are subject to change annually. The fees shown include the student centre levy which must be paid by all students.

If you are being funded to do your programme, please make sure your organisation gets in contact with student.payments@ucd.ie. Please note that all applicants are required to pay the €50 application fee. Your application cannot be processed fully unless the application fee has been paid.

More information about fees is available on the UCD website at the link below:
•General information about UCD Fees

If you have any queries about your fees, please contact student.payments@ucd.ie

Enrolment dates

Next Intake: September 2020

More details
  • Qualifications

    Postgraduate Diploma (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type


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