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What is Robust Process Improvement?

Robust Process Improvement is a set of strategies, tools, methods, and training programs for improving business processes. It is a blended approach that incorporates lean, six sigma, and formal change management to increase the efficiency of business processes. When applied, these methods will result in efficiency, empowerment, quality, and the behavioral side of change.

Safety problems in health care persist because they are complex. Given this complexity, it is important to understand the true reasons why something isn’t working in order to improve it. RPI is an improvement methodology that has proven effective in solving a range of quality and safety challenges faced by health care organizations today because of its emphasis on finding the root causes of failure as a precondition to developing long lasting solutions.


Benefits from RPI

Organizations have used RPI to invest in their employees, improve business and clinical outcomes, and move their performance to zero harm.

Here are the results that health care organizations have achieved through their adoption of RPI as part of their training engagements. These span a wide range of outcomes, from finance and operations to clinical quality and safety.

RPI coaches teach and mentor trainees on strategically selected training projects, resulting in:

  • 72% reduction in the hiring process turn-around time
  • 70% reduction in the falls rate
  • 63% reduction in sepsis mortality
  • 68% improvement in nursing retention
  • 54% reduction in Surgical Site Infection Rates
  • 25% reduction in TAT for room cleaning
  • 81% improvement in the discharge time rates
  • 52% reduction in medication delays

RPI Components

Health care organizations can benefit from process improvement tools and methods to address common safety failures and rare adverse events that harm patients and employees. RPI, a combination of Lean, Six Sigma and change management, is a potent set of tools to address safety and quality problems:

  • Lean is a set of tools and a philosophy of employee-empowered improvement that identifies and removes wasted effort from processes without compromising the quality of the outcome.
  • Six Sigma tools focus on improving the outcomes of a process by radically reducing the frequency with which defective products or outcomes occur.
  • Change management is a systematic approach, used alongside Lean and Six Sigma, that prepares an organization to accept, implement, and sustain the improved processes that result from the application of Lean and Six Sigma tools.

This set of tools provide methods to help health care organizations to achieve major improvements in faulty processes.

RPI Roles

JCI works with health care organizations to help them build internal process improvement expertise by training key staff to serve in various process improvement roles: 

Change Leader
A Change Leader is trained in change management techniques. Change Leaders can help an organization promote change and increase its capacity to prepare for, commit to, and champion improvement. Change Leaders work to increase the speed in which the proposed improvement is accepted and reinforce its effectiveness.

Green Belt
A Green Belt develops working knowledge in RPI tools and methodology, while leading a performance improvement project. Green Belts will spearhead improvement initiatives so that you can achieve organizational goals.

Black Belt
A Black Belt is a full time RPI practitioner. He or she is an experienced professional in Lean, Six Sigma and change management tools and methods, and how to apply these to improvement projects. A Black Belt’s job is to lead improvement initiatives, coach and mentor and teach RPI-trained staff.


*The use of Joint Commission International (JCI) advisory services is not necessary to obtain a Joint Commission International Accreditation award, nor does it influence the granting of such awards.