Rethinking behavioral health processes by using design for six sigma

Psychiatr Serv. 2015 Feb 1;66(2):112-4. doi: 10.1176/ Epub 2014 Dec 1.


Clinical evidence-based practices are strongly encouraged and commonly utilized in the behavioral health community. However, evidence-based practices that are related to quality improvement processes, such as Design for Six Sigma, are often not used in behavioral health care. This column describes the unique partnership formed between a behavioral health care provider in the greater Pittsburgh area, a nonprofit oversight and monitoring agency for behavioral health services, and academic researchers. The authors detail how the partnership used the multistep process outlined in Design for Six Sigma to completely redesign the provider's intake process. Implementation of the redesigned process increased access to care, decreased bad debt and uncollected funds, and improved cash flow--while consumer satisfaction remained high.

MeSH terms

  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Evidence-Based Practice / organization & administration*
  • Evidence-Based Practice / standards
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Mental Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Mental Health Services / standards
  • Organizations, Nonprofit / organization & administration*
  • Organizations, Nonprofit / standards
  • Quality of Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Quality of Health Care / standards
  • Universities