Improvement approaches

Sylvia Elkhuizen, Nathan Proudlove

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The chapter elaborates on the different approaches to improve the performance of an organisation.

First, the basics of quality improvement are memorised, using Deming’s PDSA cycle as a steppingstone, and the seven basic tools for quality improvement are illustrated: cause-and-effect diagram, check sheet, Pareto chart, scatterplot, control chart, flowchart and histogram.

Then Business Process Redesign is discussed as an alternative to improvement when problems become structural and cannot be solved by improvement. By restructuring business processes in a fundamental and radical way, a dramatic change in performance can be realised.

Then the three major improvement approaches are elaborated: the Theory of Constraints with its bottleneck focus point, Lean Management with its focus on removing waste and adding value for patients and Six Sigma with its focus on reducing variation. The three approaches are also compared on their characteristics and strength and weaknesses, and their possibilities to combine.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOperations Management for Healthcare
Place of PublicationAbingdon
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781003020011
ISBN (Print)9780367895952, 9780367895945
Publication statusPublished - 25 Nov 2022


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