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How to Create a COVID-19 Control Chart Using QI Macros

Control charts offer a promising way to analyze COVID-19 Data. Learn where to get the data, how to mine it and how to chart it in this video.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Ask Jay, Data Mining, QI Macros, Six Sigma.

U.S. Deaths by Age Group as of 4/24/2020

People over age 55 account for 92% of COVID-19 Deaths (data from CDC). Sweden is using similar data to leave the country open for most citizens while asking seniors to stay at home. How do we reopen the economy? Self-quarantine seniors; let everyone else get back to work.

Here’s the 2019-2020 Influenza (i.e., Flu) deaths. Again, seniors are 83.5% of deaths. The flu death rate is about 1 per 1,000. COVID-19 death rate is 1-2 per 100, perhaps lower in people under the age of 55 and higher for those over age 55.

Countermeasure: Self-quarantining seniors will help flatten the curve and prevent overwhelming healthcare.

Posted by Jay Arthur in healthcare, Jay Arthur Blog, QI Macros.

Lean Response to COVID-19

We know that Lean can collapse cycle time by 75% or more. Here’s what that means for COVID-19:

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

“If you’ve ever done any Lean projects, you know pretty much if the process is this long {gestures}, with Value Stream Mapping and Spaghetti Diagramming, you can collapse that by maybe 75%, 80%, 90%. You can actually reduce the cycle time for almost anything and do it easily.

“One of the things that is creating optimism for me is that a few years ago I worked with an aerospace manufacturing company, and typically to get a Request For Proposal through, it was 1.9

Posted by Jay Arthur in healthcare, Improvement Insights, Lean.

Colorado Deaths by Age Group

Since 90% of deaths are among those over 60, perhaps the best countermeasure is to require those of us over 60 (me for example) to stay home. Most of us are retired anyway. Let others go back to work.

Approximately 51% of Colorado hospitalizations involve people 60-80+, 75% of people over 50. Another reason to ask seniors like myself to stay at home even as the economy reopens. This will help reduce the load on hospitals.

Posted by Jay Arthur in QI Macros, Six Sigma.

Cholera and COVID-19 Hot Spot Detection and Quarantine

There are COVID-19 hot spots and cold spots. How do we keep the cold spots open and detect and quarantine warming spots? Maybe statistical process control can help.


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

“Back in the mid 1800s there was a cholera outbreak in London, and John Snow (not of Game of Thrones, but Dr. John Snow) said, “I think there’s a pattern here.” He went out and figured out that everybody who had cholera was getting water from the Broad Street pump. Back then, there was no indoor running water so you had to take your pail, go out to the pump and get your water for your home or your business or your restaurant.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Improvement Insights, Jay Arthur Blog, Six Sigma.

How Long Should Lean Six Sigma Projects Take?

Should a project take 4-16 months or 4-16 hours? Should you measure projects with a calendar or a stopwatch? I think the answer is obvious, but here’s my take on it.

“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur. Every year, we exhibit at lots of conferences with QI Macros so I get to go to presentations by all kinds of folks. Now, last year I saw a presentation by some consultants who said they’d done some research into how long Six Sigma projects take. They found Six Sigma projects take anywhere from four months to 16 months.

“I [thought], “What? How’s that possible?” That makes no sense to me, because I’ve done multimillion-dollar projects in between 4 and 16 hours.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Agile Lean Six Sigma, Improvement Insights, Jay Arthur Blog, QI Macros.

COVID-19 Root Cause Analysis and Countermeasures

I started wondering, what would the COVID-19 pandemic look like as an improvement story. We have charts about cases and deaths. What might be the root causes and potential countermeasures? Here’s my draft Ishikawa-fishbone root cause analysis diagram and countermeasures. Root causes circled in red.

COVID-19 Courntermeasures

We screen for guns in luggage and knives on passengers, why not temperatures? 

As of 4/12/20, NYC accounted for over a third of U.S. COVID-19 cases and almost 50% of deaths. It’s a hot zone. According to one employee, Denver General Hospital has not had a single COVID-19 patient. It’s a cold zone. What are the boundaries of the cold zone?

Posted by Jay Arthur in Agile Lean Six Sigma, Jay Arthur Blog, QI Macros, Six Sigma.

Colorado COVID-19 Cases and Deaths in Control Charts

While most COVID-19 charts show cumulative cases and deaths, I wondered what would happen if we turned the cumulative data into a daily data and plotted it as a control chart. It is possible to use c or XmR charts for this purpose. Process changes chosen based on runs and trends in the data.

Daily new cases still unstable, but hovering around 339/day. Cases began to rise 3/18. Potentially leveling off 3/26. the date of state “stay-at-home” order.


Daily deaths still unstable, but hovering around 12/day. Deaths began rising 3/21, but appear to be stabilizing.  Significant spike on 4/2, root cause unknown.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Jay Arthur Blog.

4/9/20 QI Macros Webinar

More than 40 people signed up for this webinar, with Jay Arthur demonstrating how to use some of the useful features of QI Macros, as well as some of the new features introduced in recent releases of the software. Some attendees were familiar with the software and already use it, some had only begun to use it; all were interested in learning new ways that QI Macros can help them with their Agile Lean Six Sigma and Quality Improvement efforts. (You can hear him answering questions and comments typed in by webinar attendees.)

If you saw a feature demonstrated in the webinar that might have been added to QI Macros after the version you’re using (for instance, the Templates Wizard, the Fixed Limit indicator or the automated Process Change Wizard), you may need to purchase an upgrade to bring your QI Macros to the current version.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Data Mining, Excel, QI Macros, Webinar.

IHI Trillion Dollar Checkbook Webinar, 3 of 3

Webinar 3 of 3: April 8, 2020 More than 40 people signed up for this webinar, with Jay Arthur first doing an overview on the IHI’s goal, and then going into more detail and highlighting examples on how implementing Agile Lean Six Sigma can speed an organization’s improvement process and better sustain results.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Agile Lean Six Sigma, healthcare, Jay Arthur Blog, Lean, QI Macros, Six Sigma, Webinar.