Chapter 10

Summary and Path Forward

I don’t know what the data say about whether or not my diabetes improved, but I can tell you for sure I know it worked because I feel a lot better now than I did before we started!

—Carolyn Pohlen

Chapters 1 through 9 discussed using statistical thinking and methods in the improvement of business processes. The statistical thinking approach to business improvement has three key elements: process, variation, and data. All work is a process, and business processes provide the context and focus for business improvement. We presented frameworks (models) to follow and tools to use when solving problems and improving processes. Process data and designed experiments can be used to develop process models and in turn improve processes. The tools of statistical inference and probability that are useful in process improvement and problem solving were also presented and discussed. Along the way you used these methods on your own project. Hopefully, this activity deepened your understanding of statistical thinking and methods and their use in process improvement.

To determine where we go from here, consider: What other aspects of statistical thinking and methods should we explore and utilize? Following is a case study that may suggest answers to this question. It is a personal health care experience that illustrates the use of statistical thinking and methods in everyday life, with potential application to the health care field. This is followed by a text ...

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