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Coffee Break Bulletin

Quality Management in Emergency Medical Services — DMAIC

Posted: June 29, 2017

This bulletin discusses the Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control (DMAIC) methodology for process improvement in patient care.

To improve patient care, a process to determine problems and then to design, implement and measure the improvements must be used.

The DMAIC process

The National Fire Academy (NFA) teaches the DMAIC process in our Emergency Medical Services: Quality Management (R0158) course. DMAIC is a data-driven quality methodology used to improve processes. Five phases make up the DMAIC process:

  • Define — What is the problem?
  • Measure — Baseline data analysis of the identified problem.
  • Analyze — Evaluation of the data to identify potential causes of the problem.
  • Improve — Design and trial of the improvement.
  • Control — Ongoing monitoring of the problem and improvement.

Additional process improvement methodologies

There are other process improvement methodologies available for you to use as well. Examples include:

  • Continuous Quality Improvement.
  • Lean Manufacturing.
  • Six Sigma.
  • Total Quality Management.

In addition, the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program provides a framework to improve your organization’s performance and get sustainable results. It was the basis for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) publication, “A Leadership Guide to Quality Improvement for Emergency Medical Services Systems.” Neither the Baldrige program nor the NHTSA guide direct a specific process to use, but both provide criteria and elements of an improvement process.

Making time to work through the steps in process improvement is critical if you and your colleagues are to implement an effective Quality Management Program. Through the use of a tested and successful process, you can determine the problem and then design, implement and measure the improvements in the delivery of Emergency Medical Services for patient care.

Action step for process improvement in patient care

Apply for the NFA course Emergency Medical Services: Quality Management (R0158) to learn more about DMAIC. You will also learn how to create, implement and maintain a Quality Management Program using historical examples, current models, and best practices in quality assurance and improvement, process improvement, and data collection and analysis.

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