Tips for designing your quality improvement spreadsheets

Steve DaumAmong our healthcare customers we find substantial use of Microsoft Excel. A recent survey of CHARTrunner customers found that 68% of them use data in Excel to produce their SPC charts and other analysis related to quality improvement. Excel is powerful and flexible and well suited to this job. However, this power can lead to complicated worksheets that are difficult to use and even more difficult to maintain. Once designed and deployed, a spreadsheet template may be in use for several years. Who will be around to debug an error or correct a formula that is discovered a year later?

To improve the situation requires well designed spreadsheets. Today, spreadsheets are so easy to setup and start to use – that we tend to gloss over using a design process to get started. Here are some tips to think about as you design your next quality improvement spreadsheet:

  1. Decide the primary purpose of the spreadsheet
  2. Make the primary purpose easy to accomplish
  3. Use the simplest possible sheet that accomplishes the purpose
  4. Don’t create future work for yourself
  5. Keep the data “pure”
  6. Be consistent among your sheets
  7. Favor traditional arrangements over weird arrangements
  8. Use a “notes” worksheet to document complex sheets

For a more detailed look at these tips see the following article in the PQ Systems knowledge base:

New hospital accreditation organization approved by CMS

Peter GriffithLast week at the OAHQ annual conference I learned that the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has approved the first new hospital accreditation organization in more than 30 years.

The reason this is important is that Medicare’s accreditation of hospitals is critical to their payment of claims. This annual process can determine compliance with Medicare Conditions of Participation quickly rendering this payment system more efficient and faster.

The recently approved accrediting program is known as the National Integrated Accreditation for Healthcare Organizations (NIAHO) by DNV Healthcare. DNV Healthcare joins the Joint Commission and the American Osteopathic Association as the only national hospital accreditors approved by CMS.

The NIAHO standard specifies the requirements for a quality management system as “Measurement, monitoring and analysis of processes throughout the organization require established measures that have the ability to detect variation, identify problem processes, identify both positive and negative outcomes, and effectiveness of actions taken to improve performance and/or reduce risks. . . ”

Here at PQ, we support healthcare organizations in their accreditation processes by providing process improvement charting software and services.

Learn more about DNV Healthcare’s approval.