Blog posts and articles about using data analysis and statistics in quality improvement initiatives in healthcare.

In previous blog posts, I wrote about quality professional Bill Howell’s diabetes diagnosis and how he managed his disease with Lean Six Sigma. Bill wrote a book, called I Took Control: Effective Actions for a Diabetes Diagnosis, and later when I spoke with him personally, he mentioned the importance of Hemoglobin HbA1c in diagnosing diabetes and how informative this single blood component can be. W... Continue Reading
It’s common to think that process improvement initiatives are meant to cater only to manufacturing processes, simply because manufacturing is where Lean and Six Sigma began. However, many other industry segments, such as healthcare and banking, also rely on data analysis and Lean Six Sigma tools to improve processes (even if those processes are more service-based). For example, it’s increasingly... Continue Reading
We tend to associate Six Sigma, Lean, TQM, and other quality improvement methods with industries like manufacturing. But using statistics and data analysis to solve problems is a process that's flexible enough to suit any business, including services such as banking, food service and, increasingly, health care.  There are many reasons to be happy that Lean Six Sigma is being adopted by more and... Continue Reading
I received a comment on my last post from Robb Richardson, a business process professional in the financial services industry who is also a Type 2 Diabetic. In the comments, Robb mentioned that like Bill Howell, he too uses Minitab to analyze a variety of data relating to his diabetes diagnosis. When I followed-up with him to learn more, he told me our diabetes post prompted him to send an email to... Continue Reading
In my last post, I discussed how quality professional Bill Howell chose to manage his diabetes diagnosis by treating it as a Six Sigma project. Since a key metric in controlling his disease was keeping his blood glucose levels below 125 mg/dL, he tested his blood using a meter three times per day and then charted his data to see how his levels changed over time. He ensured his measurement systems... Continue Reading
Did you know that tomorrow is World Rabies Day? It’s a day to highlight the impact of human and animal rabies and promote how to stop the disease by combating it in animals first. I found it surprising to learn that more than 55,000 people, mostly in Africa and Asia, die from rabies every year. The global source of most rabies cases in humans is from uncontrolled rabies in dogs, which is spread to... Continue Reading
The Minitab Fan section of the Minitab blog is your chance to share with our readers! We always love to hear how you are using Minitab products for quality improvement projects, Lean Six Sigma initiatives, research and data analysis, and more. If our software has helped you, please share your Minitab story, too!   Some years ago, my wife had a real issue with her blood pressure spiking for no... Continue Reading
Every so often I get to interview someone who applies quality methodology in ways I wouldn't have imagined before I began working at Minitab. For instance, I spoke with the quality manager for a world-renowned medical center not long ago. This facility is consistently included in U.S. News and World Report's list of America’s Best Hospitals, but even the best hospitals occasionally have “sentinel ... Continue Reading
I don’t know about you, but I’m thankful we no longer live in a time when we feel compelled to swig swamp-root juice any time we want to feel better. The field of medicine couldn’t advance by relying solely on subjective anecdotes and testimonials, like those for Dr. Kilmer’s cure-all. Using statistical analyses, we can now objectively evaluate various preventions and treatments in measurable,... Continue Reading
Variation is everywhere. It’s in your daily commute to work, it’s in the amount of caffeine you drink every day, in the number of e-mails that arrive in your inbox, etc. Whether you’re monitoring something as ordinary as caffeine consumption or something more important like a multi-million dollar manufacturing process, you can use one simple tool to monitor variation and determine whether the... Continue Reading
Choosing an appropriate Six Sigma project is challenging, and one of the biggest areas of risk involves the size and focus of the project. A simple form referred to as a SIPOC can be a big help when it comes to selecting a project that has a high likelihood of success. I explained in some detail what a SIPOC is in an earlier post, but here's the bottom-line version. The SIPOC acronym stands for Supp... Continue Reading
I followed the nurse down the long beige hallway and had a seat. “The doctor will be with you shortly,” she said as she turned to leave. It had been a month since my last visit. My doctor had prescribed me a statin drug to lower my cholesterol. I had prescribed him a P chart to monitor his wait times. I was anxious to find out how both had worked.“Ah there he is,” said my doctor as he entered the... Continue Reading
So I’m in my doctor’s office the other day and he tells me my “LDL” is “out-of-control.” “What’s an LDL?” I asked. “I’m glad you asked,” he said. “You see, LDL is the bad cholesterol and you want it to be low.” “So there’s a good cholesterol?” I asked. “Yes, it’s called HDL, and yours should be higher.”“Oh, so the HDL should be higher than the LDL? Kind of like how the UCL is higher than the LCL... Continue Reading
We recently published a few new case studies featuring the Northern Sydney Central Coast Health Service (NSCCHS) and their commitment to quality improvement. The health service is based in Australia and extends from the Sydney Harbor to the northern reaches of the Central Coast, including a total of 11 different facilities. After the NSCCHS realized the success of a few isolated improvement... Continue Reading