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Focusing on Performance Improvement With Trained ‘Black Belts’


Black Belt NewsOne of the many attributes that sets Crouse Hospital apart from other healthcare providers is our focus on excellence through innovation and creativity (which we refer to as the Crouse ‘E’ value).


Innovation at Crouse comes in many forms and can be found throughout the organization. From our unique Care Transitions program, to our Lung Partners program for COPD patients and our partnerships with local/regional emergency medical services to improve patient hand-offs, to our Ideas for Excellence program, Crouse continues to innovate and collaborate with one single goal: to improve the services and quality of care we provide our community.


Borrowing from the manufacturing industry, Crouse’s innovation focus is also embedded within the work of the hospital’s Quality Division, which now has six Six Sigma-certified “black belt” team members. Six Sigma is a business management strategy originally developed by Motorola in the early 1980s. It’s used in many industries to improve quality by identifying and reducing or removing causes of defects or errors while minimizing variability in processes. At Crouse, Six Sigma is used to address many common challenges, including patient safety, resource utilization, length of stay and patient throughput.


Achieving Black Belt certification in Six Sigma gives members of the Quality Division the ability to expand their scope of work to include formal quality review tools like DMAIC (Design, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control), which is another process that can be used within the hospital’s performance improvement structure. A DMAIC team, lead by a certified Black Belt, allows a team of people directly linked to a process to streamline work flow, with the goal of improving efficiency and quality outcomes.  


Crouse has partnered with Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management and Rochester Institute of Technology to implement Six Sigma strategies that support the hospital’s overall performance improvement culture. To date, the hospital has used Six Sigma to improve administration of antibiotics, reduce the time from patient arrival in the Emergency Department to entering an exam room, shorten delays in the OR and improve health outcomes for patients with respiratory illness.


Members of the hospital’s Black Belt team (pictured above) are: Michael Jorolomon, DO, senior quality medical director for Emergency Services; Lynette Johnson, senior quality analyst; Karen Sigona, quality analyst; Rachel Carey, quality analyst; Sarah Dawson, quality analyst; and James Gagne, management engineer.


For more information on Crouse’s performance improvement culture contact Jennifer Watkins, Director of Quality Improvement at



Cheryl Abrams
Crouse Hospital
Communications Department
Phone: 315/470-7123
Fax: 315/470-7232

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