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Lean Sigma Six Methodology Can Cut Cesarean Rate

Cesarean rate decreased from 41.83 to 32.00 percent 10 months after improvement measures

MONDAY, Nov. 21, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Use of the Lean Six Sigma (LSS) methodology is effective for reducing the cesarean section rate, according to a study published online Nov. 14 in the Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice.

Ze-Ying Chai, M.D., from Taizhou Hospital of Zhejiang Province in China, and colleagues used LSS methodology to examine and analyze the cesarean section rate. They identified the main causes of cesarean, implemented improvement measures, and compared the rate of cesarean section before and after the intervention.

The researchers found that the main causes of cesarean section were maternal request, labor pain, parturient women assessment, and labor observation, after exclusion of patients with a valid medical reason for cesarean. The authors implemented a series of measures, including an improved system for assessment of parturient women, strengthened guidance on pregnancy nutrition, implementation of painless labor techniques, enhanced team building among midwives, and promotion of childbirth-assist skills. The cesarean section rate decreased from 41.83 to 32.00 percent 10 months after introduction of the improvement measures, and the Six Sigma score increased from 1.706 to 1.967 (P < 0.001).

“In conclusion, LSS is an effective way to reduce the rate of cesarean sections,” the authors write. “However, the control of cesarean section rate needs continuous improvement, and the next phase will be to persistently improve the key defective factors through the use of LSS methodology.”

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