Control Charts for KPIs

Improvement Insights Blog

Control Charts for KPIs

Several attendees told me they had ripped out their line charts and started using Control Charts for their KPIs. Here’s why:

“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma for Hospitals” and the QI Macros [software].

“We were out at the National Association for Healthcare Quality conference; I was speaking and we were exhibiting there. After I spoke, I had a couple people come up to me who said they’d seen me at the previous year’s convention talking about how to improve things and how line [charts] and bar charts can be harming patients and they said, “You know, I went back to my hospital and we ripped out all of our line charts and we put in control charts for all of our key process indicators. Then we taught our leadership team how to read them and to understand when everything’s working properly and when there might be something that needs to be improved so that we don’t waste a lot of time chasing rainbows.” I thought, “Oh my gosh, that’s amazing! People went out and actually did it!”

“Another amazing thing: there were a couple of really great improvement posters of projects at this convention. Those people had been in my session the year before and they’d followed my advice and turned out really top-notch improvement posters and for the first time ever (EVER!), I had a conference where there were more control charts than line charts; more control charts than line charts. Although they still had way too many bar charts – there was about 41% bar charts – but for the first time ever, control charts beat out line charts. I think that’s a win, all right?

“So that’s my Improvement Insight for this week: Rip out those line and bar charts, put in control charts and start taking control of your organization and how it works and what you respond to and what you do with all these metrics. That’s my Improvement Insight for this week. Let’s go out and improve something this week. Let’s create hassle-free health care… it’s not that hard!”