Lean Six Sigma for Healthcare

Graduate Diploma Health Studies

What is meant by “Lean thinking”?
Lean means using less to do more. Lean thinking is not typically associated with healthcare, where waste of time, money, supplies, and good will is a common problem. But the principles of Lean management can, in fact, work in health care in much the same way they do in other industries. Many Healthcare organisations are successfully using Lean thinking to streamline processes, reduce cost, and improve quality and timely delivery of products and services. The seeds of Lean were sown by many different innovators but Toyota is credited as being the forefather of Lean as we know it today.

Waste of money, time, supplies, or good will decreases value. When applied rigorously and throughout an entire organisation, Lean principles can have a positive impact on productivity, cost, quality, and timely delivery of service. 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, much like the manufacturing industry. Many aspects of the Toyota Production System and other Lean tools therefore can and do apply to the processes of delivering care.

The programme is designed to prepare the Black Belt 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 and leading on change in their own organisation and in Black Belt theory and application.

Where and How is the training delivered?
The training is delivered in 2 centres across 2 semesters – UCD Belfield and the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital. Self-directed study takes place throughout the duration of the year long Programme.

How is the training delivered?
The Programme is delivered via four modules utilsing lectures, online components, clinical placements and reference site visits with 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 Mater/UCD Black Belt team 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 utilsing Lean Six Sigma methodologies

7 Academic Assignments

Tollgate MCQs
Incremental Project Development and delivery over the duration of the Programme

Final project presentation to UCD/Mater exam panel (candidates must pass this assessment to be eligible for a UCD/Mater Lean Six Sigma Black Belt)

Entry requirements

Healthcare Professionals must have completed the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Programme with the Mater Lean Academy 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. Upon successful application the student will be issued with a registration pack and UCD student card (UCard).


1 year Full Time

Attendance requirement:
Programme attendance dates are specified on the application form.

21 days attendance (UCD/Mater Misericordiae University Hospital)
Day for group oral examination
Time for self-directed learning, research, data analysis and Project development

Self-Directed study:
7 academic assignment
Self-directed learning and any 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

Number of credits


Careers or further progression

Careers / where can I go?
With gaining an ability to integrate knowledge and handle complexity in a multidisciplinary context in relation to health and social care provision, it is anticipated that this will provide the students with ample career opportunities both nationally and internationally.

Further enquiries

General Enquiries:
Paula Oragano
Transformation Office Administrator
Transformation Office, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Eccles Street, Dublin 7.
+353 1 809 7463

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

Assessment method

•7 Academic Assignments
•Tollgate MCQs
•Incremental Project Development and delivery over the duration of the Programme
•Final project presentation to UCD/Mater exam panel (candidates must pass this assessment to be eligible for a UCD/Mater Lean Six Sigma Black Belt)

Application date

Applications for this Programme are directly to the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital.

Enrolment and start dates

Next Intake: 2017/2018 September.

* Courses will remain open until such time as all places have been filled, therefore early application is advised.

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