Baldrige Winners Named; QE Conference Slated

The three winners of the 2002 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award include the first winner ever from the healthcare sector.

SSM Health Care is a St. Louis, MO, not-for-profit Roman Catholic health system providing primary, secondary and tertiary services. The system owns, manages and is affiliated with 21 acute care hospitals and three nursing homes in Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin and Oklahoma, teaming 5,000 affiliated physicians and 22,200 employees.

The year's only winner in the manufacturing category was the Motorola Inc. Commercial, Government and Industrial Solutions Sector (CGISS), a Schaumburg, IL., supplier of integrated communication and information systems that include radio networks, systems, products and service. CGISS has 14,000 employees worldwide.

In the small business category, Branch-Smith Printing Division, a Fort Worth, TX, fourth-generation family business that specializes in providing turnkey services, including designing, printing, binding and mailing related to sheet-fed printing of multipage bound materials. Branch-Smith has 68 employees.

For additional information, visit the Baldrige National Q uality Program website at www.quality.nist.gov.

Quest for Excellence conference
Quest for Excellence XV, the conference where these 2002 Baldrige Award recipients will share their performance practices and lessons learned, will be held March 30-April 2 in Washington, DC. ASQ is a co-sponsor of the event, along with the American Society for Training and Development and ASQ's affiliate, the Association for Quality and Participation.

For information, including registration, accommodations and the conference schedule, visit www.quality.nist.gov.

Examiners sought
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which manages the Baldrige Award, has put out a call for examiners for the 2003 award.

Examiners evaluate applications and prepare feedback reports. Qualifications include expertise in business, education or healthcare management processes and results, as well as knowledge of practices and improvement strategies that lead to organizational excellence.

The Board of Examiners consists of about 400 members, including nine judges and about 60 senior examiners. Applications are available at www.quality.nist.gov or by calling 301-975-2036. The deadline to apply is Jan. 6.

ACSI Says Satisfaction Up Even If Consumers Less Confident

The most recent quarterly results of the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) reveal customer satisfaction continued to rise despite lessening consumer confidence in the economy.

Updated with new data on nondurable products, the ACSI showed total satisfaction was at 73.1 out of a possible 100, compared to 73 last quarter. The new nondurables score also marked a 1.3% improvement over the category's score a year ago.

Claes Fornell, professor of business and director of the University of Michigan Business School's National Quality Research Center, which compiles and analyzes the ACSI data, says most of the gains for the nondurables sector were driven by price reductions or the absence of price increases. A Fornell article about the relationship between customer satisfaction and both stock performance and national economic growth will appear in next month's issue of QP.

"The intense competition and the ease with which customers can switch brands in the nondurables sector drives companies to simultaneously improve quality and cost. Thus the customer gains on both sides of the value equation," says Jack West, past president of ASQ, which co-sponsors the ACSI.

The sharpest gains were in athletic shoes (score of 79 marking a 3.9% gain). Reebok International improved the most with a 4.1% jump since last year. Soft drinks improved markedly (score of 85 or 3.7% increase). Coca-Cola , with a score of 85, was a point behind Pepsi but improved 4.9% from last year.

Other significant improvements were by Sara Lee (3.7%) and Mars (3.5%) in the food processing category.

The complete quarterly report can be found at www.theacsi.org/third_quarter.htm.

Canadian survey
About 75% of respondents rated their overall perception of service quality as either excellent or good in a survey conducted in Canada by the National Quality Institute (NQI) and Macleans magazine. Consumers also perceived they received better service quality from Canadian organizations than when interacting with U.S. based ones.

Dan Corbett, president and CEO of NQI, notes a growing perception that organizations are less committed to quality and comments on notable improvements in postal and courier services and a significant decrease in scores for telephone companies and airlines. 

7 Organizations Get Canadian Excellence Awards

Seven organizations received 2002 Canada Awards for Excellence from the National Quality Institute.

Winners of the quality trophy were Dana Canada Inc., Spicer Driveshaft Group, Magog, Quebec; Canada Post, Saskatoon Operations, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; Homewood Health Centre, Guelph, Ontario; and Mullen Trucking, Aldersyde, Alberta.

Two organizations received the Healthy Workplace Award: Dofasco Inc., Hamilton, Ontario; and MCR, Mississauga, Ontario. CAE, Saint Laurent, Quebec, received the certificate of merit.

For more information on the awards and recipients, visit www.nqi.ca.

Six Sigma Role Seen In Fighting Terrorism

Federal authorities are looking at Six Sigma to aid their fight against terrorism, according to an Oct. 30 article in USA Today.

The article quoted supportive Six Sigma experts and consultants such as Mikel Harry of the Six Sigma Academy and Liz Keim, ASQ president and Six Sigma consultant. Also commenting were business leaders such as Dell Computer CEO Michael Dell and Raytheon CEO Dan Burnham, along with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Fort Wayne, IN, Mayor Graham Richard.

For additional information on the article and a related USA Today article on Six Sigma, visit www.asq.org.

ISO 9000:2000 Initiative Collecting User Experiences

The product support initiative (PSI) for ISO 9001:2000 by International Organization for Standardization Technical Committee 176 is collecting experiences (good and bad) of users of the revised quality management system standard.

To participate in the PSI experience collection e-mail your regional PSI coordinator:

baseballcatchStatistician Again Names World Series MVP

Once again Jay Bennett, a member of the statistics in sports section of the American Statistical Association (ASA), has used a statistical method called Player Game Percentage (PGP) to identify the most valuable player (MVP) of the most recent World Series.

Following the Anaheim Angels-San Francisco Giant series last October, Bennett determined third baseman Troy Glaus was MVP, based on his consistent excellence and the play considered the second biggest of the series, when he doubled in a winning run in the eighth inning. (Glaus was also named MVP by national sportswriters.)

Bennett and fellow ASA statistics in sports section member John Flueck developed the PGP. For more information, visit www.amstat.org/sections/sis.

QuEST Forum Meeting Jan. 21 in New Orleans

The Quality Excellence for Suppliers of Telecommunications (QuEST) Forum will hold its annual meeting on Jan. 21 in New Orleans.

ASQ President Liz Keim will speak. There will also be presentations by the executive board, work group sessions and updates, and a work group roundtable discussion on TL 9000.

Need for Government Role In Improving Healthcare Noted

The federal government should take the lead in improving the safety and quality of treatment provided to the nearly 100 million beneficiaries of six government healthcare programs, according to a report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies.

"Leadership by Example: Coordinating Government Roles in Improving Health Care Quality" adds that the government should give financial rewards to hospitals and doctors who improve care and should collect and make available to the public data comparing the quality of care among providers.

The report follows two IOM studies on the quality of healthcare in the United States--the first on the extent of medical errors and the second calling for a national effort to improve safety and quality.

Quality enhancement processes at the six government programs are being redesigned, but are uncoordinated and insufficient to close the quality gap, according to the report. It adds that Congress should direct heads of relevant cabinet departments to establish standardized performance measures, support development of computerized clinical records, set minimum standards for care and employ purchasing strategies to encourage providers to adopt best practices.

For additional information, visit www.iom.edu.

More on healthcare
Other healthcare quality news includes an announcement that the National Patient Safety Foundation's Fifth Annual Congress will be held March 12-15 in Washington, DC. An Institute for Healthcare Improvement minicourse on March 12 will be included in the program. Information on the congress can be found at www.mederrors.org.


The Midwest Business Group on Health is seeking volunteers to provide feedback on its recent report, "Reducing the Cost of Poor Quality Health Care." If interested, contact Ray Zielke at rzielke@asq.org. For a copy of the report, go to www.mbgh.org.

023V0211The National Association for Healthcare Quality has issued a call for papers for its 28th Annual Educational Conference, Sept. 6-9 in Phoenix. Download the call document at www.nahq.org/conference/2003. The deadline for consideration of papers is March 7.


JAMA (vol. 288, 2002, pp. 1484-1490), published by the American Medical Association, reports health maintenance organizations (HMOs) with low quality of care scores are more likely to stop voluntarily disclosing their quality data than are HMOs receiving higher scores, thus undermining both informed consumer decision making and public accountability.

SOFTWARE DONATION: Mercury Interactive Corp. of Sunnyvale, CA, has donated its functional and test management software to the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Business information systems programs. Students will use the software in software quality assurance testing classes.

MEDICAL DEVICE CERTIFICATION: TÜV America's Product Service Division awarded its first CUE certification for a medical device to Data Ray Corp. of Westminster, CO. CUE is a three-in-one product certification program for the U.S., Canadian and European markets.

FOOD SAFETY PAPERS: The International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) is accepting abstracts until Jan. 6 for its IAFP 2003 to be held Aug. 10-13 in New Orleans. For additional information, visit www.foodprotection.org.

ASNT TRANSITION PLAN: The American Society for Nondestructive Testing Inc. (ASNT) has approved a transitioning plan for its central certification program. The grandfathering plan allows certification without examination for the boiler and pressure vessel industry and for general industry until Sept. 30, 2003. For information, visit www.asnt.org.

SIX SIGMA AT INTUIT: BusinessWeek ("The Wizard of Intuit," Oct. 28, 2002) reports Stephen Bennett is bringing a General Electric (GE) type culture of quality boosting and waste trimming to Intuit. Bennett was with GE for 22 years before becoming CEO of GE Capital in 1999, then CEO of Intuit in 2002.

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