Knowledge Center

Using Control Charts in a Healthcare Setting

by Jack Boepple

After spending 10 years on the road as a healthcare operations improvement consultant, Isabella “Izzy” Cvengros decided it was time to settle down. As a consultant, Cvengros had been assigned to a wide variety of healthcare projects over the years.

On October 10, 2014, Cvengros had just completed a series of interviews with two hospitals and both had gone very well. She interviewed for the same job at both facilities: director of operations improvement. As a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, Cvengros was thrilled to hear both hospitals’ progressive views on continuous improvement, although she did not notice any control charts being used.

While control charts are typically associated with manufacturing processes, Cvengros knew they could be applied to any industry’s processes, including hospitals.

Boepple Healthcare Lead Art

Continue reading below to download this fictional teaching case study and supplemental materials for use in classrooms and organizations to learn how quality tools like the control chart can create organizational success.

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Case Study Materials

Using Control Charts in a Healthcare Setting

KC Case Study Icon 2-This teaching case study features characters, hospitals, and healthcare data that are all fictional.

-Upon use of the case study in classrooms or organizations, readers should be able to create a control chart and interpret its results, and identify situations that would be appropriate for control chart analysis.

-The case is best suited for MBA operations courses and modules, but it also could be used in a hospital setting at a facility that has embraced a continuous improvement philosophy.

Click here to download the full case study in PDF format. Continue reading below to find supplemental files for this teaching case study and additional background information.


Files for Download: PowerPoint Slideshow and Data File

PPT IconTwo files for this case study are available for direct download. The files available to supplement this teaching case are:

-Introduction to Control Charts PowerPoint slideshow

-EDD Data Excel spreadsheet file  

If you have specific questions -- or feedback you'd like to share -- about using the case's supplemental files, contact author Jack Boepple at j-boepple@kellogg.northwestern.edu.


By Request Only: Teaching Note and Debrief PowerPoint

PPT IconAdditionally, a teaching note and debrief slideshow are available to supplement this case study as well. These files, though, are only available by request only to educators who plan to use the case study in a classroom or other learning environment.

To request a copy of these files, please email the Knowledge Center team at KnowledgeCenter@asq.org.  

Request Permission to Distribute

Use the case study, teaching note, PowerPoint presentations, and data file created by author Jack Boepple to structure your own lesson plan in a classroom.

Request permission to distribute materials to participants in your class or organization.

Key Takeaways 

You Will Learn

 Upon analyzing the case and its supplemental materials, readers should be able to:

  • Create a control chart and interpret its results.
  • Identify situations that would be appropriate for control chart analysis.

Appropriate Uses

The case is best suited for MBA operations courses and modules, particularly those focused on operations/process improvement. It also could be used in a hospital setting at a facility that has embraced a continuous improvement philosophy.

Since control charts are an advanced process improvement topic, this case would more appropriate after the mid-point in the course. This teaching note assumes that students have already been introduced to control charts.

The hospitals named, the case protagonist (Cvengros), the data used to create the control charts, and the situation are all fictitious.

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