Problem-Solving Thinking: An Overview of DMAIC, A3, and PDSA

Original presentation date: April 9, 2024

Video length: 46 minutes


This presentation will give learners an understanding of what problem-solving thinking is, as well as an overview of what DMAIC, A3, and PDSA problem-solving approaches are to support your quality and continuous improvement journey. Learners will be able to understand the similarities and differences between all three problem-solving approaches, as well as an understanding of how they can overlap and be applicable within the laboratory.


Angela Fessenden

Senior Systems Engineer 
Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology 
Mayo Clinic
Rochester, Minnesota

Amber Hanson, M.A.

Senior Systems Engineer 
Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology 
Mayo Clinic
Rochester, Minnesota

Learning objectives

Upon completion of this activity, participants should be able to:

  • Define what problem-solving thinking is.
  • Describe the similarities and differences between DMAIC, A3, and PDSA.
  • Identify how DMAIC, A3, and PDSA can overlap and be applied in the lab setting.

Intended audience

This webinar is appropriate for laboratory administrators and managers, quality assurance and control staff, supervisors, and other laboratory personnel who are dedicated to continuous quality and process improvement.


The following types of credit are offered for this event:


Mayo Clinic Laboratories is approved as a provider of continuing education programs in the Clinical Laboratory Sciences by the ASCLS P.A.C.E.® program. This program has been approved for a maximum of 1.0 P.A.C.E.® contact hour.

State of Florida

Mayo Clinic Laboratories is approved as a Continuing Education Accrediting Agency for the Clinical Laboratory Sciences for the State of Florida. Florida Board of Clinical Laboratory Personnel has designated this program for General credit. This program has been approved for 1.0 contact hour.

To obtain credit

1. Watch the video.

2. Complete the posttest and evaluation that launches immediately following the video.

3. Generate and print your certificate(s).

Level of instruction for this program is basic.

Credit for this recording expires on 04/09/26.

Faculty disclosure

Course director(s), planning committee, faculty, and all others who are in a position to control the content of this educational activity are required to disclose all relevant financial relationships with any commercial interest related to the subject matter of the educational activity. Safeguards against commercial bias have been put in place. Faculty members also will disclose any off-label and/or investigational use of pharmaceuticals or instruments discussed in their presentations. Disclosure of this information will be published in course materials so those participants in the activity may formulate their own judgments regarding the presentations.


Contact us:

MCL Education

This post was developed by our Education and Technical Publications Team.