Purpose - The purpose of this study is to assess the state at which lean and six sigma (LSS) are used as a management system to improve the national health system national health system of Mexico.
Design/methodology/approach - Cross-sectional survey-research. The survey was administered at 30 different hospitals across six states in Mexico. These were selected using convenience sampling and participants (N = 258) were selected through random/snowball sampling procedures, including from top managers down to front-line staff.
Findings - Only 16 per cent of respondents reported participation in LSS projects. Still, these implementations are limited to using isolated tools, mainly 5s, failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) and Fishbone diagram, with the lack of training/knowledge and financial resources as the top disabling factors. Overall, LSS has not become systematic in daily management and operations.
Research limitations/implications - The sampling procedure was by convenience; however, every attempt was made to ensure a lack of bias in the individual responses. If still there was a bias, it is conjectured that this would likely be in overestimating the penetration of LSS.
Practical implications - The penetration of LSS management practices into the Mexican health system is in its infancy, and the sustainability of current projects is jeopardized given the lack of systematic integration. Hence, LSS should be better spread and communicated across healthcare organizations in Mexico.
Originality/value - This is the first research work that evaluates the use of LSS management practices in a Latin American country, and the first journal paper that focuses on LSS in healthcare in Mexico.
- Six sigma
- Latin America