StATS: My ten favorite books, #9 (March 24, 2006). Category: Good books
There is a lot of interest in applying Quality Control methods to health care problems, and I have finally gotten around to updating a class that talks about this.
Whenever someone asks me about this topic, I recommend an excellent book,
- Understanding Variation: The Key to Managing Chaos. Donald J. Wheeler (1993) Knoxville, TN: SPC Press Inc. [BookFinder4U link]
Donald Wheeler has also written several other excellent books on this topic, but this is the best one for beginners. It doesn't have a lot of formulas and calculations, but provides a powerful motivation for why you should use Quality Control methods (and especially Control Charts).
If you want to delve further into this topic, the same publisher, SPC Press (www.spcpress.com), has a wealth of good books.
I tried to find some commentary on the web about this book, and noticed that I had commented on this book in a different, but related context:
William Paar, a famous name in Statistics and Quality Control, has some nice things to say about this book:
This is a superb book, targeted at the manager who wants to know how variation and its understanding relate to him/her and their work. It focuses on the type of data which will make sense to a manager at, for instance, the plant manager level and shows eloquently the benefits of a statistical point of view. My recommendation: Buy this book, and give a copy to those to whom you report. web.utk.edu/~wparr/566references.html
Once you start browsing the web, it's hard to stop because there is so much good stuff out there. Dr. Wheeler also has a nice essay on the web,
- The Four Possibilities for Any Process. Donald J. Wheeler, Published December 1997 in Quality Digest. Accessed on 2006-03-24. (Model, Quality control) [Excerpt] Successful quality control requires making a clear distinction between product and process. Products may be characterized by conformance to specifications. Processes may be characterized by predictability. When combined, these two classification systems yield four possibilities for any process: Conforming and predictable -- the ideal state; Nonconforming and predictable -- the threshold state; Conforming yet unpredictable -- the brink of chaos; Nonconforming and unpredictable -- the state of chaos. www.qualitydigest.com/dec97/html/spctool.html
and another essay that cites Dr. Wheeler's book,
- The Seven Fatal Flaws of Performance Measurement. Joseph F. Castellano, Saul Young, Harper A. Roehm, Published June 2004 in the The CPA Journal Online. Accessed on 2006-03-24. (Model, Quality control) [Excerpt] Performance measurement systems are used to establish specific goals, align employee behavior, and increase accountability. Organizations often use these systems to set targets for component units (e.g., individuals, profit centers, divisions, plants). Each unit is expected to develop its own goals consistent with overall targets. This process, sometimes called a “roll-up,” reflects the premise that if all units achieve their targets then the overall goals will be met. The methods used by most companies to establish these numerical targets often involve the use of stretch targets or benchmarking best practices. www.nysscpa.org/cpajournal/2004/604/essentials/p32.htm
is also worth reading.
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