Highland News Leader

St. Joseph’s Hospital leadership team members earn ‘Black Belt’ certifications

Carrie Erlinger
Carrie Erlinger

Carrie Erlinger, RN, and Joel Tucker, PharmD, both members of the leadership team at HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Highland, have completed the rigorous requirements to be named an American Society for Quality Training (ASQ)-Certified Six Sigma Black Belt.

As such, both Erlinger and Tucker have reached a significant level of professional recognition, indicating a proficiency in and a comprehension of Six Sigma principles and practices.

“This accomplishment by Carrie and Joel gives St. Joseph’s Hospital a ‘quality trifecta’ in 2015 that demonstrates a focused and progressive journey in our Franciscan healing ministry,” said Peggy Sebastian, president and CEO, St. Joseph’s Hospital. “Along with receiving state-wide recognition for outstanding quality excellence in September, and being awarded the national 5-Star patient satisfaction status in May, we continue to demonstrate our Core Values of ‘Respect, Care, Competence, and Joy’ by leading with quality, safety, and an exceptional culture of service to better serve our patients and communities.”

Erlinger, a member of the SJH senior leadership team who also serves as director of Quality, Patient Safety and Risk Management, conducted project work on the analysis and improvement of patient satisfaction survey efforts related to individuals admitted to the hospital’s Inpatient Services Department. Erlinger worked with a team from the inpatient unit on understanding the expectations from patients and potential barriers to meeting those expectations.

Through Erlinger’s project, St. Joseph’s Hospital implemented improvements and hardwired standardized behaviors, such as hourly rounding, to improve scores in several of the areas of patient satisfaction including a patient’s likelihood to “Recommend the Hospital,” pain management, response of staff, and medication communication.

Tucker received his Six-Sigma Black Belt certification by completing a medication reconciliation project that streamlined the hospital’s process to allow pharmacists to review all inpatient medication lists for accuracy upon admission. Tucker serves in a dual director of pharmacy role at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Highland and Breese. Both hospitals are part of the Southern Illinois Division of Hospital Sisters Health System.

“This is an amazing accomplishment by two very dedicated professionals who both care very deeply for patients and pursue excellence in all they do,” says Ms. Sebastian.

About Certification

Six Sigma is a set of techniques and tools for process improvement. It was introduced by engineer Bill Smith while working at Motorola in 1986. Jack Welch made it central to his business strategy during his time as CEO at General Electric in 1995. Today, it is used in many industrial sectors.

Six Sigma seeks to improve the quality of the output of a process by identifying and removing the causes of defects (errors) and minimizing variability in processes.

Since 1968, when the first ASQ certification examination was administered, more than 190,000 individuals have taken the path to reaching their goal of becoming ASQ-certified in their field or profession. ASQ is a global community of people dedicated to quality who share the ideas and tools that make the world work better.