Vol. 11, No. 9
September 2009
PQ Systems
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Quality Quiz from Professor Cleary

Dr. Noah Tall, quality administrator for St. Recovery in the Long Run Hospital, recently went to a half-day seminar in Hawaii, entitled “Quality Tools for the Health Care Industry.” While Dr. Tall is highly discriminating about the location of training sessions he attends, the content is generally a less critical factor in his decision.

When the seminar opened at 1:00 p.m., Dr. Tall had just finished playing eighteen holes of golf and he was having a difficult time staying awake. The instructor began to talk about the usefulness of cause-and-effect diagrams, and soon Dr. Tall's head dropped and he was out. By the time he was jolted awake some time later, the instructor had moved on to Pareto charts, and was completing the section with an exercise that involved using M&Ms to illustrate the Pareto chart. Believing that this exercise applied to cause-and-effect diagrams, Tall took copious notes so that he could put on a seminar at the hospital upon his return.

One week later, he gathered his staff to provide a lecture on cause-and-effect diagrams, prepared to dazzle them with the M&M exercise.

Confused by his presentation, one of his staff members diffidently asked whether this was really a cause-and-effect diagram, or whether it might instead be a Pareto chart. “There are variations on the cause-and-effect diagram,” Dr. Tall responded impatiently, “and this is one of them. They all prove the same thing.” Are cause-and-effect diagrams used for the same purposes that Pareto data is adhered?

a) Yes

b) No

 

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