David Williams

Nov 102014
 

The last time I blogged, I was talking about improving your journey to work by making decisions based on data, but I also wanted to look at how to prioritise which changes are of the biggest benefit and which are the most easily achieved. After all, we only have a finite amount of time and resources within work. How do we choose what improvement area to work on next?

In IQT Silver we use Pareto charts to see where opportunity for improvement lies within work.

David Williams

David Williams

A Pareto chart,based on the Pareto principle, states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Possible examples of this in healthcare are:

80% of referrals coming from 20% of the population, or

80% of hospital bed days come from 20% of inpatients.

A Pareto chart is a type of chart that contains both an ordered bar chart and a line graph, where the bars are ordered from highest to lowest and the line shows the cumulative percentage of the bars across the chart. The ordered bars show how often something happens, the costs of something or another important unit of measure.

This format makes it easy to see at a glance where the biggest areas for improvement lie and how much of the whole picture they represent. This is done by looking up from a bar within the chart to the cumulative line, then across to the right to read the percentage that the chosen bar and those to the left of it represent out of the whole percentage.

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Aug 262014
 

All of our processes contain variation. Understanding variation is vital when deciding how to improve our processes and services.

David Williams

David Williams

Variation is the natural fluctuation that we see in our processes. For example, the number of times the phone rings at work a day is never constant. The differing number of times it rings a day is the variation we see in this process.There are two different types of variation, “common cause” variation and “special cause” variation.

An example of how variation works…

Every day I drive to work. It normally takes me about 55 minutes, if there are no unusual occurrences, but this does vary. It rarely takes exactly the same time to drive to work due to levels of traffic, weather, or the timing of traffic signals. These time differences are expected. It is common cause variation.

One day, there was an accident on the Motorway. My journey to work took 94 minutes. This is special cause variation. If this happened to you, would you change your route to work every other day just because of this single occurrence?

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