Applying Lean Six Sigma to Improve Depression Screening and Follow-Up in Oncology Clinics

Bethlyn Gerard, Mona Robbins, Joseph Putra, Mythili Ram, Mounia Boukhari, Jacqueline Mutz, Sharron Coffie, Kristin Martin-Cook, Alexandra Huffman, Donna M. Bryant, Lynn Myers, Puneet Bajaj, Thomas Froehlich, Jason S Fish

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Depression is a common and serious illness that impairs the health of individuals and societies globally. It is associated with a significant economic burden, with productivity losses exceeding $40 billion dollars annually in the United States (U.S.) alone. This project focused on the use of a systematic, data-driven approach to improve the screening rate for depression in an academic, metropolitan cancer center located in North Texas. A multidisciplinary team collaboratively applied Lean Six Sigma education, methods, and tools within oncology and psychiatry clinics to address the increased risk of depression among oncology patients. Improving the standardization of screening and follow-up processes, resulted in a 44% sustained increase in the depression screening and follow-up performance rate. This improvement was verified to be statistically significant through the use of control charts toward the end of the project.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-162
Number of pages10
JournalJournal for Healthcare Quality
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2021


  • Lean Six Sigma
  • depression screening
  • oncology
  • psychiatry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health Policy


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