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Laurel Thoennes @ Quality Digest

Quality Insider

Books: “Data Sanity”--Statistics Are Doable

Forget everything you learned about statistics from textbooks.

Published: Monday, June 22, 2009 - 14:44

In his book Data Sanity: A Quantum Leap to Unprecedented Results (Medical Group Management Association, 2009) author Davis Balestracci passionately teaches a new way of thinking about improvement and integrating quality into the fabric of your organization. 

How often do you find an expert who has spent 25 years mastering a category of knowledge who can successfully relate to novices, intermediates, and experts of quality improvement? Balestracci does it in Data Sanity, and does it with wit, humor, and memorable examples that make the book, not only useful, but a thoroughly enjoyable read. By the way, Quality Digest readers will immediately recognize Balestracci’s no-nonsense, no-one-is-safe approach whenever he discusses how statistics are mishandled in the workplace.

Although the book’s emphasis appears to be on the use of statistics and process-oriented thinking in a health care environment, Davis’ approach can be applied to any industry, especially any service industry, including education.

Some of the topics covered in Data Sanity are:

  • Statistical thinking as a conduit to transformation
  • Quality improvement in a context of balanced scorecards
  • A leadership belief system: basic skills for transforming culture
  • An executive team handbook: creating the culture to deliver desired new results
  • The deeper implications of process-oriented thinking: data and improvement processes
  • Process-oriented statistics: studying a process in time sequence
  • Statistical stratification: analysis of means
  • The ins and outs of surveys: understanding the customer

 

Forget everything you learned about statistics from textbooks, says Balestracci. Statistical methods required for everyday work are much simpler than imagined, and you’ll be surprised that statistics are quite doable.

As Davis likes to say (often and with emphasis) “Too many people in ‘quality’ don’t ‘get’ quality.” In Data Sanity, so diverse are the examples and his explications leave no doubt that Davis makes quality improvement accessible in every sense of the word, especially as Webster’s puts it “that can be got.”

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About The Author

Laurel Thoennes @ Quality Digest’s picture

Laurel Thoennes @ Quality Digest

Laurel Thoennes is an editor at Quality Digest. She has worked in the media industry for 33 years at newspapers, magazines, and UC Davis—the past 25 years with Quality Digest.