Content By Quality Digest

Peter Dizikes’s picture

By: Peter Dizikes

Given the complexities of healthcare, do basic statistics used to rank hospitals really work well? A study co-authored by MIT economists indicates that some fundamental metrics do, in fact, provide real insight about hospital quality.

“The results suggest a substantial improvement in health if you go to a hospital where the quality scores are higher,” says Joseph Doyle, an MIT economist and co-author of a new paper detailing the study’s results.

The study was designed to work around a difficult problem in evaluating hospital quality: Some high-performing hospitals may receive an above-average number of very sick patients. Accepting those difficult cases could, on the surface, worsen the aggregate outcomes of a given hospital’s patients and make such hospitals seem less effective than they are.

However, the scholars found a way to study equivalent pools of patients, thus allowing them to judge the hospitals in level terms. Overall, the study shows, when patient sickness levels are accounted for, hospitals that score well on quality measures have 30-day readmission rates that are 15 percent lower than a set of lesser-rated hospitals, and 30-day mortality rates that are 17 percent lower.

Michigan Metrology’s picture

By: Michigan Metrology

(Michigan Metrology: Livonia, MI) -- Michigan Metrology, experts in solving problems related to surface texture, wear, finish, and friction, will share their expertise in a two-day course, April 1–2, 2020, in Livonia, Michigan.

“This course is designed for scientists, engineers, and technicians working in medical devices, automotive, aerospace, materials, polymers, and other fields,” says Don Cohen, Ph.D., who will lead the two-day workshop. “In recent years we have seen a great deal of interest in surface metrology and tribology education. This class offers material that will benefit both relative novices and advanced metrology users who want to further their understanding of these essential topics.”

Lean in government

Are lean programs and government agencies odd bedfellows? Not really. Both private and public sector organization often must do more with less. We talk with Tracy O'Rourke of GoLeanSixSigma.com about how lean gives taxpayers more bang for their buck.

Also, Russell Morrison of CMSC talks about technical-paper presentation at the annual Coordinate Metrology Systems Conference.

Attend CMSC conference this July 20-24, 2020, in New Orleans.

Want to present at the CMSC? CMSC Call for Papers

Anne Trafton’s picture

By: Anne Trafton

After a patient has a heart attack or stroke, doctors often use risk models to help guide their treatment. These models can calculate a patient’s risk of dying based on factors such as the patient’s age, symptoms, and other characteristics.

While these models are useful in most cases, they do not make accurate predictions for many patients, which can lead doctors to choose ineffective or unnecessarily risky treatments for some patients.

“Every risk model is evaluated on some dataset of patients, and even if it has high accuracy, it is never 100-percent accurate in practice,” says Collin Stultz, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT and a cardiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. “There are going to be some patients for which the model will get the wrong answer, and that can be disastrous.”

Stultz and his colleagues from MIT, IBM Research, and the University of Massachusetts Medical School have now developed a method that allows them to determine whether a particular model’s results can be trusted for a given patient. This could help guide doctors to choose better treatments for those patients, the researchers say.

Exact Metrology’s picture

By: Exact Metrology

(Exact Metrology: Cincinnati) -- Cincinnati native, Tom Tsuchiya, is a well-known artist whose previous work includes bronze statues of former Cincinnati Reds players near the entrance of the Great American Ball Park and the inductees of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Now, Tsuchiya’s artistic skills are on display in Florence, Kentucky. The Florence Community Plaza features life-size statues of a firefighter, a public service worker, and a police officer.

Although Tsuchiya has used 3D software, digital scanning, 3D printing, and CNC (computer numerical control) to help create sculptures in the past, the Florence project was the first time digital scans of actual people were used to create a sculpture.

Tsuchiya planned the general pose of the firefighter, the public service worker, and the police officer with a little girl, using a 3D design program. He asked Matthew Martin, the division manager of Exact Metrology, and Scott Menne to digitally scan actual employees from the City of Florence, Kentucky. The firefighter in gear was scanned at the fire station, while the police officer and Martin’s daughter were scanned at the Florence city headquarters. A friend of the City of Florence posed as the public service worker.

Tom Taormina’s picture

By: Tom Taormina

In part one of this series, I said that I want to help my colleagues use their ISO 9001 implementation as a profit center and to turn risk-based thinking into risk avoidance. To do this I will share a set of tools that help evolve quality management into business management.

These tools include:
• Evolving the requirements of ISO 9001's Section 4 from merely defining the context of the organization to working with senior management to create, implement, and make shared vision, mission, and values a cultural imperative
• Redefining Section 5 to include roles and responsibilities for everyone in the organization that are measurable and inextricably tied to the key business success goals and metrics
• Including in Section 6 the tools and culture of risk avoidance
• Evolving Section 7 from support to an outcome-based, risk-and-reward culture
• Expanding the scope of Section 8 into a holistic business management system
• Redefining Section 9 from performance evaluation to an enterprisewide culture of individual and team accountability
• Expanding Section 10 from continual improvement to business excellence

Jennifer Lauren Lee’s picture

By: Jennifer Lauren Lee

3D printing of metal objects is a booming industry, with the market for products and services worth more than an estimated $2.3 billion in 2015, a nearly fivefold growth since 2010, according to Wohlers Report 2016. For this type of manufacturing, a metal part is built up successively, layer by layer, over minutes or hours. Sometimes thousands of layers are added together to make a single piece, a reason why this process is conventionally referred to as “additive manufacturing” (AM). By convention, 3D printers that create functional parts, often metal, in a commercial environment are referred to as “additive manufacturing machines.” The term “3D printing” usually refers to the process used to make plastic parts, one-off pieces, art pieces, or prototypes.

Additive manufacturing machines are particularly handy for making objects with complex forms or geometry, or internal features like ducts or channels. They are becoming increasingly popular in the aerospace, automotive, medical, and technology industries, to make complex pieces such as fuel injector nozzles for engines or titanium bone implants for skull, hip, and other repairs.

Harry Hertz’s picture

By: Harry Hertz

It has been a little more than two years since I last summarized the topics that are keeping CEOs up at night, either thinking about challenges their organizations face, or opportunities and innovations that should be explored. I ended that column by stating that I looked forward to taking another look a few years down the road to see how those challenges and opportunities have changed. Well, we are now down the road.

As in the past, the findings presented below are generally applicable across industry sectors (including government and other nonprofits) and to organizations of all sizes. Also, as in the past, I have combined what I have heard from senior executives, what I have read in blogs and publications of all types, and what I have learned from 11 specific studies. I have identified six areas that are important to CEOs as we enter the next decade. Many of these areas are logical outgrowths of the topics highlighted in the 2017 study, but with new twists and a greater sense of urgency. Agility is the key word, and as the title of this column suggests, CEOs sense a forward-looking need for perpetual reinvention.

Marcia Reynolds’s picture

By: Marcia Reynolds

‘I can handle when they talk back to me,” the HR director said. “But when they roll their eyes, it just gets under my skin.”

“I know,” said the training manager. “I have an intern who does amazing work, but when I try to give him some direction, the eye-roll makes me explain myself far more than I normally would. I feel I have to defend myself when I’m just stating a clear expectation.”

“It’s not just the younger employees,” the director added. “I get the smirk and sideways glance from one of my most senior specialists. If I ask if she disagrees with me, or disapproves of my approach, she says, ‘Oh no, I see what you mean’ and acts as if she is the most agreeable person around.”

“I think we need to address how eye-rolling impacts our communications. But I bet they roll their eyes if we suggest it!”

How to react when you notice eye-rolling

Most people emotionally react when someone rolls their eyes. The gesture is seen as a nonverbal judgment of your words. If you ask about the gesture, eye-rollers generally deny they did anything disrespectful.

Don't roll your eyes at me!

Marcia Reynolds, President of Covisioning, and author of The Discomfort Zone, discusses how to deal with people who nonverbally communicate their displeasure.

Book: The Discomfort Zone

Book: Coach the Person, Not the Problem: A Guide to Using Reflective Inquiry