Six Sigma Tools in Integrating Internal Operations of a Retail Pharmacy – a Case Study


Operations and Supply Chain Management

Date of this version


Document Type



enterprise information integration, gap analysis, pharmacy process flow, service blueprinting, six sigma.


Purpose: This study was initiated to integrate information and enterprise-wide healthcare delivery system issues specifically within an inpatient retail pharmacy operation in a U.S. community hospital.

Methodology: Six Sigma tools were used to examine the effects to an inpatient retail pharmacy service process. Some of the tools used include service blueprints, cause-effect diagram, gap analysis derived from customer and employee surveys, mistake proofing was applied in various business situations and results were analyzed to identify and propose process improvements and integration.

Findings: The research indicates that the Six Sigma tools in this discussion are very applicable and quite effective in helping to streamline and integrate the pharmacy process flow. Additionally, gap analysis derived from two different surveys was used to estimate the primary areas of focus to increase customer and employee satisfaction. The results of this analysis were useful in initiating discussions of how to effectively narrow these service gaps.

Contribution: This retail pharmaceutical service study serves as a framework for the process that should occur for successful process improvement tool evaluation and implementation. Pharmaceutical Service operations in the U.S. that use this integration framework must tailor it to their individual situations to maximize their chances for success.

Published in

Technology and Health Care Journal

Citation/Other Information

Vol 19 (2) 115-133