Six Sigma & Healthcare IT

MyTechMyTech Posts: 3Member ■□□□□□□□□□
I'm thinking about getting a Six Sigma Black Belt cert. My question is has anyone received one (or at least completed the course without the cert.)? If so how has it benefited your IT career?

Also, I've been looking at stepping into the healthcare IT field and am curious to know if anyone out there is in the field. If so how is that vs. the "normal" IT sector?

Thanks

Comments

  • dynamikdynamik Posts: 12,314Banned
    Sounds like a job for eMeS icon_cool.gif
  • eMeSeMeS Posts: 1,875Member
    MyTech wrote: »
    I'm thinking about getting a Six Sigma Black Belt cert. My question is has anyone received one (or at least completed the course without the cert.)? If so how has it benefited your IT career?

    Also, I've been looking at stepping into the healthcare IT field and am curious to know if anyone out there is in the field. If so how is that vs. the "normal" IT sector?

    Thanks

    Be careful with Six Sigma certs in general. There is not a strong credentialling process. Anyone can declare someone a green belt, black belt, etc.. with or without a course, experience or any kind of exam. There is a lot of charletanism out there...e.g, "Master Black Belt" is not really a Six Sigma credential, it's more of a transitory role held under certain conditions; yet, you see many educational providers offering "Master Black Belt Certification".

    IMO, there are about 3 organizations that are credible to offer any kind of Six Sigma certification.

    The first two are Motorola and GE. There are probably a handful of other organizations that are credible in this area and have strong programs that ensure both experience and knowledge of theory, but there aren't many.

    The next is The American Society for Quality. American Society for Quality - ASQ

    ASQ has both green belt and black belt certifications that require demonstration of quite a bit of experience as well as completion of education and certification exams. My black belt is from ASQ. I earned the experience many years before I took the exam, and I think it amounted to two significant projects that I directly managed using Six Sigma tools, the trick being you had to demonstrate where the priojects eliminated waste and/or saved money (this is really the hallmark of Six Sigma)

    The ASQ exam for black belt is only offered a few times per year. I flew to Vegas to take mine. It was I think a four-hour (might have been less time) beating with I think about 200-225 questions. I remember I barely had enough time to finish the exam and I was certain that I failed. I received my score within about a week and I passed it. The other notable thing is that the exam was open book. I took in a Six Sigma book, a statistics book, and a calculator. Unfortunately, there wasn't really enough time to ever look in the books. It was funny, there were people in that exam literally wheeling in shopping carts full of books.

    Regarding healthcare IT. I've never worked directly in that field, but I know many people that do and I have customers in that field. IMO, there is no distinction between this field and other industry that relies on IT.

    MS
  • eMeSeMeS Posts: 1,875Member
    dynamik wrote: »
    Sounds like a job for eMeS icon_cool.gif

    Just as I was typing....
  • PashPash Posts: 1,601Member
    When you say healthcare IT do you mean working for the health services in hospitals, surgeries etc?

    Don't forget healthcare IT could also mean working for pharmaceuitical companies, in which case these types of environments involve a lot more 3rd party contact. The amount of scientific software out there is staggering, licensing it all and supporting it, is very difficult.
    DevOps Engineer and Security Champion. https://blog.pash.by - I am trying to find my writing style, so please bear with me.
  • MyTechMyTech Posts: 3Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Pash wrote: »
    When you say healthcare IT do you mean working for the health services in hospitals, surgeries etc?

    Don't forget healthcare IT could also mean working for pharmaceuitical companies, in which case these types of environments involve a lot more 3rd party contact. The amount of scientific software out there is staggering, licensing it all and supporting it, is very difficult.


    The healthcare IT or health IT is like medical term., billing, and coding (this is based strictly off what I have heard and read). But, it would also be a dealing with the IT side of things. So it would in a sense be like having a Info Sys Security degree or Info Sys Admin degree but also having medical training added and HIPAA knowledge.
  • MyTechMyTech Posts: 3Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    eMeS wrote: »
    Be careful with Six Sigma certs in general. There is not a strong credentialling process. Anyone can declare someone a green belt, black belt, etc.. with or without a course, experience or any kind of exam. There is a lot of charletanism out there...e.g, "Master Black Belt" is not really a Six Sigma credential, it's more of a transitory role held under certain conditions; yet, you see many educational providers offering "Master Black Belt Certification".

    IMO, there are about 3 organizations that are credible to offer any kind of Six Sigma certification.

    The first two are Motorola and GE. There are probably a handful of other organizations that are credible in this area and have strong programs that ensure both experience and knowledge of theory, but there aren't many.

    The next is The American Society for Quality. American Society for Quality - ASQ

    ASQ has both green belt and black belt certifications that require demonstration of quite a bit of experience as well as completion of education and certification exams. My black belt is from ASQ. I earned the experience many years before I took the exam, and I think it amounted to two significant projects that I directly managed using Six Sigma tools, the trick being you had to demonstrate where the priojects eliminated waste and/or saved money (this is really the hallmark of Six Sigma)

    The ASQ exam for black belt is only offered a few times per year. I flew to Vegas to take mine. It was I think a four-hour (might have been less time) beating with I think about 200-225 questions. I remember I barely had enough time to finish the exam and I was certain that I failed. I received my score within about a week and I passed it. The other notable thing is that the exam was open book. I took in a Six Sigma book, a statistics book, and a calculator. Unfortunately, there wasn't really enough time to ever look in the books. It was funny, there were people in that exam literally wheeling in shopping carts full of books.

    Regarding healthcare IT. I've never worked directly in that field, but I know many people that do and I have customers in that field. IMO, there is no distinction between this field and other industry that relies on IT.

    MS


    Thank you. I was looking at Motorola for the Black Belt but I'm still wondering is it really going to benefit me? I know a lot of people in different business sectors that utilize it but haven't known too many in the IT world that are getting certs for it.
  • RobertKaucherRobertKaucher Posts: 4,298Member
    I used a lean/six sigma for services system to get turn time at a computer repair shop down to 1.8 days with an 80% customer satisfaction index. That was from nearly 1 week and 70%. It is a culture change, though. Once I left they went back to the old way of doing things... 3 days and 75% is there current average and they have 2 more part-time employees working there than they did when I was there. Do less with more, I guess...

    I have never seen any IT related job posting with Six Sigma listed. Most people I have spoken to see it as a manufacturing thing, not related to services. Of course, that is not true, but it is what you will go up against.

    Just to add my $.02.
  • ClaymooreClaymoore Posts: 1,637Member
    Six Sigma, ITIL, CMM, or MOF are all process oriented methodologies that help you see IT as a whole rather than individual little tasks. All those tasks still exist, but now you can start understanding how they all work together.

    We can have a religious debate about which methodology is better, but learning any of them can only help. ITIL and Six Sigma are probably the two biggest, but I was originally taught a version of the Capability Maturity Model so I tend to fall back on that. I have some ITIL material buried on the bottom of a bookshelf that I plan on getting to some day...
  • eMeSeMeS Posts: 1,875Member
    Six Sigma tends to be more sought after in manufacturing environments, or any environment where processes are executed millions or billions of times. Think of the US Postal Service. What would it mean to the USPS if 1% of all letters were delivered to the wrong address?

    Clay...I'm going to have to contradict you a bit, as all of these things are very different and one is not better than the other IMO.

    Six Sigma - Is basically a toolbox, with different techniques that can be used to reduce cost and waste. The techniques are very statistically oriented.

    Lean Six Sigma - Is basically the same as Six Sigma except that focus is placed on maximizing output while minimizing resources consumed.

    ITIL - Is a service-lifecycle oriented collection of best practices for managing "services"

    MOF - Is a service-lifecycle oriented approach for managing IT. It is based on ITIL and is completely irrelevant and superfluous.

    CMM - Is a way of measuring the maturity of processes, and is primarily oriented towards software engineering.

    CMMI - Is a way of measuring the maturity of processes and improving those processes, and as CMM is primarily oriented towards software engineering.

    IMO, none of them are "better", as they really all have totally different raisons d'etre.

    Regarding job postings for Six Sigma...sometimes you see them for IT-related jobs. However, these tend to be management-level or at a minimum project-management type roles.

    Personally, I go with a broad definition of "information" (read Kurzweil); from my standpoint most jobs are ultimately information technology jobs.

    MS
  • KaminskyKaminsky Posts: 1,235Member
    Never heard of six sigma over here. ITIL is practically a pre-requisite though.

    I spent 15 years in UK hearlthcare IT but your healthcare system is very different in that it is based on earning money. Over here it's all free to a certain extent.

    I now work for a large corporate IT firm and find there is a lot more exposure to all sorts of equipment compared to NHS. You buy some kit in and that will be the end of it for many years until that goes obsolete and you go get some more.

    Training was practically non existent and certainly wasn't industry standard; just ad-hoc. There seemed to be a huge fear that gaining industry certs would cause you to leave.

    I also found one main difference is that once you got good at a role, that's where you stayed unless absolutely necesary. In the corporate, you are practically encouraged to move on in the company every 2-3 years and your well supported in doing so. I was asked to mentor a data centre OPs guy in networking back in December by the guy's senior manager and he has just left that post to take up another in security networking and it was congratulations all round. Neeeever would have happened in NHS IT in fact I would have been on a very serious disciplinary for that.
    Kam.
  • tenroutenrou Posts: 108Member
    I've worked at GE and Quantum who both used Six Sigma but neither for IT. I can't see it being a major benefit. I'd say go for ITIL instead.
  • laidbackfreaklaidbackfreak Posts: 991Member
    Kam, your not wrong about eh NHS here, I've worked for them a couple of times and its a different world!!

    Six Sigma is here tho I know a few bods who have gone on to gain black belts, but they worked in manufacturing I dont know anyone from an IT background who has it.
    And I agree with ITIL being the current dominant force, few years back Prince was all the rage.
    These things go in cycles.
    if I say something that can be taken one of two ways and one of them offends, I usually mean the other one :-)
  • KaminskyKaminsky Posts: 1,235Member
    Prince is about project management... Almost demanded to work in any kind of project/design role in the uk... although I fail to understand what project and design have in common. I ever come across a design the PM has done themselves, I am running at full speed in the opposite direction.

    Prince 2 and ITIL 3rd level and you will make money no matter what you are into in the UK. Speak with a plum in your mouth and come fom a good school and you can double that again.

    I would be interested to hear some experienced members from US healthcare IT. Is it true you all get great pay, all the training you want and are worshipped like gods ?
    Kam.
  • PashPash Posts: 1,601Member
    Kaminsky wrote: »
    Prince 2 and ITIL 3rd level and you will make money no matter what you are into in the UK. Speak with a plum in your mouth and come fom a good school and you can double that again.

    I know some managers with ITIL and Prince 2 and they don't speak with a plum in their mouths, they are plums, does this count?
    DevOps Engineer and Security Champion. https://blog.pash.by - I am trying to find my writing style, so please bear with me.
  • NinjaBoyNinjaBoy Posts: 968Member
    I work in the educational system and have my Green belt, to be honest I haven't really used it (it may be different in the healthcare system, but to be honest I can't really see it). I would say that it would be more benefical to either ITIL and/or MOF.

    -Ken
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