Bytes and pieces: News you can use

Healthcare conference: The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) will host its 26th Annual Forum on Quality Improvement in Healthcare in Orlando December 7-10. More than 6,000 healthcare professionals are expected to register.

Looking closely: Optical inspection, involving cameras, lenses and sometimes illumination systems, supports quality control in manufacturing.

Tips from winners: Interviews with representatives of Baldrige Award-winning yielded these tips that reflect their success.

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Quality quiz (November 2014): A classic quiz from Professor Cleary—and October’s quiz winners!

Mike ClearyWinners of last month’s quiz and a copy of Quality Gamebox are Stephenie Curvey (Highwood USA); Tracy Price (Covert Manufacturing Inc.); and Jack Meagher (New Hampshire Ball Bearing). Congratulations! For this month’s quiz, and a chance to win a copy of Quality Gamebox, submit your response by November 24 (Thanksgiving week).

To celebrate the life and work of Professor Cleary, we are featuring a classic quiz from our archives.

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Data in everyday life: Pumpkins!

For the traditional American Thanksgiving dinner celebrated this month, pumpkin pie will be a staple. While the holiday itself may not be celebrated throughout the world, pumpkins are indeed something to be celebrated in many places. The top five pumpkin producing countries are charted here with CHARTrunner.

Source: FAOSTAT data, 2008, cited at http://www.top5ofanything.com/index.php?h=a79bcf50

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Bytes and pieces: News you can use

Ready to celebrate: November is World Quality Month, sponsored by The American Society for Quality (ASQ). View materials related to recognizing and celebrating this event.

Readmissions: Kaiser Health News reports that 2,610 hospitals have been fined by Medicare for unacceptable rates of readmission of patients after discharge.

Registration: The 26th Annual National Forum on Quality Improvement in Health Care will take place in Orlando in December. Learn more and register.

Deming Institute: The Deming Institute Annual Fall Conference will take place in Los Angeles this month.

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Excluding the unwanted: Data that doesn’t belong

Matt SavageDo you have data that’s an anomaly or special cause that you want to exclude from your analysis? Do you want the ability to temporarily exclude certain data from your data set analysis? Special causes and outlying data can occur in any data collection process, learn how to easily handle these situations.

If you are calculating and charting average weekly temperature in a room, but find that one night the thermostat has been inadvertently set to 90 degrees, how will that data point affect your average? Clearly, the answer is that it would create a false sense of a higher temperature average for the week, and in effect create a misleading report.

There may be times that it is appropriate to leave out irregular data points such as this one, to be sure, without feeling that you’re “cheating” on the numbers. Additionally, there may be special causes that have been addressed and no longer apply to the calculations, and you’d like to remove these. Or perhaps you’d like to exclude certain pieces of data on a temporary basis, to analyze their effect on the calculations. Having the flexibility to remove or exclude anomaly data from your control chart can help you more easily focus on your process and remove any additional noise from the chart or the calculations.

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