Content By Davis Balestracci

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By: Davis Balestracci

I always enjoy my fellow columnist Arun Hariharan’s musings. He has worked in the field of quality for more than 30 years and, like me, has obtained reasonable results. But he has also made his share of the inevitable growing-pain mistakes—lessons we both had to learn the hard way in an environment totally different from today’s.

I would like to share some of his thoughts about qualities that make one successful as an improvement professional regardless of circumstances. This column will focus on one of the most important.

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By: Davis Balestracci

During the early 1990s, I was president of the Twin Cities Deming Forum. I had a wonderful board whose members were full of great ideas. One member, Doug Augustine, was a 71-year-old retired Lutheran minister and our respected, self-appointed provocateur. He never missed an opportunity to appropriately pull us right back to reality with his bluntly truthful observations and guaranteed follow through on every commitment he made.

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By: Davis Balestracci

Customer satisfaction surveys are all the rage these days. Healthcare has a couple of “800 pound gorilla” surveyors whose services (and nontrivial expense) have been pretty much forced upon it. In many cases, targets are set that are used to drive reimbursement.

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By: Davis Balestracci

Because of a growing movement in the health insurance industry toward not reimbursing hospitals for any expenses caused by a system-acquired infection, one health system made efforts to improve its infection rate starting in the last quarter of 2016. In June 2017, a year-over-year graph was presented to show progress to date.

Despite the impressive progress, there was obviously more work to do to eradicate these “should never happen events”:

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By: Davis Balestracci

The Individuals chart is the “Swiss Army knife” of control charts. It usually approximates the supposedly “correct” chart under most conditions, and its use is much easier to understand and explain. It can also save you a major side trip into the swamp of unnecessary calculation minutiae, especially avoiding square roots!

Davis Balestracci’s picture

By: Davis Balestracci

During the early 1990s, I was president of the Twin Cities Deming Forum. I had a wonderful board to work with, one of whom was Doug Augustine, our self-appointed provocateur. Doug was a 71-year-old retired Lutheran minister, and we all loved him because he always pulled us right back to earth with his bluntly truthful observations and followed through on every commitment he made.

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By: Davis Balestracci

In my last column, I reflected back on my career to date and issued a challenge. Based on the relatively lukewarm response, let’s see whether I can engage a few more of you to join me on my quixotic journey.

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By: Davis Balestracci

I have reached one of those life landmarks (receiving my Medicare card) and have been reflecting back... a lot. I will remain every bit as passionate about improvement and don’t think I will ever formally retire, but I also doubt I will have W. Edwards Deming’s tenacity to keep at it until I (hopefully) turn 93.

I’ve been writing columns for Quality Digest for more than a dozen years. Are all of my topics still relevant? I believe so.

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By: Davis Balestracci

Many of you work in organizations that keep track of customer complaints. Have you ever thought of how they are recorded and tallied? What could possibly be wrong with this process: The customer brings a concern to your attention. Record it.

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By: Davis Balestracci

Recently I demonstrated a common incorrect technique for comparing percentage rate performances—based of course in the usual normal distribution nonsense. Let’s revisit those data with a superior alternative.