An exploratory study into the use of Lean Six Sigma to reduce medication errors in the Norwegian public healthcare context
Forthun, Shirin Charlotte
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Antony, Jiju, Forthun Shirin, Charlotte, Trakulsunti, Yaifa, Farrington, Thomas, McFarlane, Julie, Brennan, Attracta, & Dempsey, Mary. (2019). An exploratory study into the use of Lean Six Sigma to reduce medication errors in the Norwegian public healthcare context. Leadership in Health Services, 32(4), 509-524. doi:10.1108/LHS-12-2018-0065
Purpose: Medication errors are a significant cause of injury in Norwegian hospitals. The purpose of this study is to explore how Lean Six Sigma has been utilised in the Norwegian public healthcare context to reduce medication errors. Design/Methodology/Approach: A mixed method approach was used to gather data from participants working in the four regions served by the Norway Health Authorities. A survey questionnaire was distributed to 38 healthcare practitioners and semi-structured interviews were conducted with 12 healthcare practitioners. Findings: The study finds that the implementation of Lean Six Sigma in the Norwegian public healthcare context is still in its infancy. This is amidst the several challenges faced by Norwegian hospitals, such as a lack of top management support, lack of LSS training and coaching and a lack of awareness around the benefits of LSS in healthcare. Research limitations/Implications: Due to the large geographical area, it was difficult to reach participants from all health regions in Norway. However, the study managed to assess the current status of LSS implementation through the participants perspectives. This is a fruitful area for future research whereby an action research methodology could be employed. Originality/Value: To the best of the authors knowledge, this is the first empirical study into the use of LSS methodology in reducing medication errors. In addition, this study is valuable for healthcare practitioners and professionals as a guideline to achieve the optimal benefit of Lean and Six Sigma implementation in order to reduce medication errors.
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