Working with healthcare-related data often feels different than
working with manufacturing data. After all, the common thread among
healthcare quality improvement professionals is the motivation to
preserve and improve the lives of patients. Whether collecting data
on the number of patient falls, patient length-of-stay, bed
unavailability, wait times, hospital acquired-infections, or
readmissions,... Continue Reading
People say that I overthink everything. I've given this
assertion considerable thought, and I don't believe that it is
true. After all, how can any one person possibly overthink every
possible thing in just one lifetime?
For example, suppose I live 85 years. That's 2,680,560,000
seconds (85 years x 365 days per year x 24 hours per day x 60 min
per hour x 60 seconds per minute). I'm asleep about a... Continue Reading
Most of us have heard a backwards way of completing a task, or
doing something in the conventionally wrong order, described as
“putting the cart before the horse.” That’s because a horse pulling
a cart is much more efficient than a horse pushing a cart.
saying may be especially true in the world of statistics. Focusing
on a statistical tool or analysis before checking out the condition
of your... Continue Reading
In my last post, I discussed how a DOE was
chosen to optimize a chemical-mechanical polishing process in
the microelectronics industry. This important process improved the
plant's final manufacturing yields. We selected an experimental
design that let us study the effects of six process parameters in
Analyzing the Design
Now we'll examine the analysis of the DOE results after the
actual... Continue Reading
I used to work
in the manufacturing industry. Some processes were so complex that
even a very experienced and competent engineer would not
necessarily know how to identify the best settings for the
You could make a guess using a general idea of what should be
done regarding the optimal settings, but that was not sufficient.
You need very precise indications of the correct... Continue Reading
When you analyze a Gage R&R study in statistical
software, your results can be overwhelming. There are a lot of
statistics listed in Minitab's Session Window—what do they all
mean, and are they telling you the same thing?
If you don't know where to start, it can be hard to figure out
what the analysis is telling you, especially if your measurement
system is giving you some numbers you'd think are... Continue Reading
There has been plenty of noisy disagreement about the state of
health care in the past several years, but when you get beyond the
controversies surrounding various programs and changes, a great
deal of common ground exists.
agrees that there's a lot of waste and inefficiency in the way
we've been doing things, and that health care should be delivered
as efficiently and effectively as... Continue Reading
After my husband’s most recent visit to the dentist, he returned
home cavity-free...and with a $150 electric toothbrush in
I wanted details.
It began innocently. His dreaded trip to the dentist ended in
high praise for no cavities and only a warning to floss more. That
prompted my programming-and-automation-obsessed husband, still in
the chair, to exclaim, "I wish there was a way to automate... Continue Reading
For the majority of my career with
Minitab, I've had the opportunity to speak at conferences and other
events somewhat regularly. I thought some of my talks were pretty
good, and some were not so good (based on ratings, my audiences
didn't always agree with either—but that's a topic for another
post). But I would guess that well over 90% of the time, my
proposals were accepted to be presented at... Continue Reading
the roots of Lean Six Sigma and other quality improvement
methodologies are in manufacturing, it’s interesting to see how
other organizational functions and industries apply LSS tools
successfully. Quality improvement certainly has moved far beyond
the walls of manufacturing plants!
For example, I recently had the opportunity to talk to Drew
Mohler, a Lean Six Sigma black belt and senior... Continue Reading
Unless you live under a black
country rock, you’ve no doubt heard that the world recently lost
one of the greatest artists of our time, David Bowie. My memories
of the Thin White Duke go all the way back to my formative years. I
recall his music echoing through the halls of our house as I
crooned along whilst doing the chores. Then as now, Bowie’s
creativity and energy inspired me and helped me do... Continue Reading
If you're just getting started in the world of quality
improvement, or if you find yourself in a position where you
suddenly need to evaluate the quality of incoming or outgoing
products from your company, you may have encountered the term
"acceptance sampling." It's a statistical method for evaluating the
quality of a large batch of materials from a small sample of items,
‘Statistics’ is a rising star. Everywhere I
turn, people are talking about data and the value of being able to
analyze and act on it. As someone who’s been writing about that for
years, I say it’s about time.
Statistics is like a talented
actress whose decades of appearing off Broadway have finally paid
For years, her work has been enriching our lives without us
knowing it. Statistics helps... Continue Reading
Having delivered training courses on
capability analyses with Minitab, several times, I have noticed
that one question you can be absolutely sure will be asked, during
the course, is: What is the difference between the Cpk
and the Ppk indices?
Ppk vs. Cpk indices
The terms Cpk and Ppk are often confused,
so that when quality or process engineers refer to the
Cpk index, they often actually intend to... Continue Reading
to this article published on Food Tank,
over 22 million pounds of food is wasted on college campuses each
year. Now that’s a lot of food waste!
Students all over the country are noticing excessive food waste
at their schools and are starting programs to bring awareness and
improve the problem. Naturally, many of these programs have roots
in Lean Six Sigma. In one example, a group of... Continue Reading
Control charts are a fantastic tool. These charts plot your
process data to identify common cause and special cause variation.
By identifying the different causes of variation, you can take
action on your process without over-controlling it.
Assessing the stability of a process can help you determine
whether there is a problem and identify the source of the problem.
Is the mean too high, too low,... Continue Reading
Don't be a grumpy cat when something on your capability report
doesn't smell right. After
pressing that OK button to run your analysis, allow your inner cat to
understand how and why certain statistics are being used. To help
you along, here are some capability issues that customers have
brought up recently.
Cp is missing
You’ve generated a capability analysis report with the Johnson
transformation... Continue Reading
By Matthew Barsalou, guest
A problem must be understood before it can be properly
addressed. A thorough understanding of the problem is critical when
root cause analysis (RCA) and an RCA is necessary if an
organization wants to implement corrective actions that truly
address the root cause of the problem. An RCA may also be necessary
for process improvement projects; it is... Continue Reading
you know that November is World Quality Month? The American Society
for Quality is once again heading up this year’s festivities.
Throughout the month of November, ASQ will be promoting the use
of quality tools in businesses, communities, and institutions all
over the world. You can check it out at http://asq.org/world-quality-month/.
Here at Minitab, we’re also pretty excited about World... Continue Reading
In Part 5 of our series, we began the analysis of
the experiment data by reviewing analysis of covariance and
blocking variables, two key concepts in the design and
interpretation of your results.
250-yard marker at the Tussey Mountain Driving Range, one of the
locations where we conducted our golf experiment. Some of the
golfers drove their balls well beyond this 250-yard maker during a
few of... Continue Reading
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worldwide have used Minitab to learn statistics than any other package.
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