Millions Awarded to Healthcare IT Projects

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has awarded grants of more than $22.3 million to aid in im-plementing healthcare IT projects.

The awards, which will go to 16 institutions in 15 states, carry with them “very specific goals as part of the funding criteria of how the grants [should] impact safety and quality of healthcare,” says Carolyn M. Clancy, AHRQ’s director. “The clear expectation of health IT is the demonstration of quality improvements.”

The grants are designed to encourage the sharing of health information between providers, labs, pharmacies and pa-tients, with the goal of decreasing medication errors and duplicative testing, Clancy says. She hopes the projects that result from these grants will help the AHRQ move forward with broader implementation of health IT in the United States.

Recipients, which include hospitals, healthcare networks and universities, were selected from a group of AHRQ grantees who received health IT planning funds in 2004. The additional funding provided by these grants will allow the institutions to carry out plans they developed with earlier grants. Eleven of the 16 grants were awarded to small and rural communities—areas of special emphasis for AHRQ’s health IT initiative.

“These grantees started from scratch, many in rural and underserved areas, and in less than a year, they’ve laid the groundwork to build valuable health IT systems in their communities,” Clancy said.

An example of this is Franklin Foundation Hospital in Gulf Coast Louisiana. The hospital will use the grant money to integrate health information and communications systems to support chronic disease management. The hospital plans to improve patient safety and eliminate duplication of efforts along the way.

The University of Tennessee will use its grant money to develop an integrated electronic health record system to improve coordination of services, continuity of care, timeliness of follow-up and patient tracking for children with special healthcare needs.

The grants are worth between $600,000 and $1.5 million each, with most around $1.4 million.

A complete list of the hospitals receiving grants can be found at http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2005pres/20051006.html.

With these 16 awards, AHRQ’s investment in health IT totals more than $166 million. It’s part of President Bush’s initiative to promote the adoption of health IT by local communities and healthcare providers, especially in rural and small communities, and to work with states to develop regional health information networks. Health and Human Services awarded 40 grants to promote healthcare IT in 2004.


Baldrige Collaborative Project Promotes Performance Excellence

ASQ has joined the Baldrige National Quality Program and the Alliance for Perfor-mance Excellence to form the Malcolm Baldrige Collaborative Project.

The project will promote the Baldrige performance excellence criteria to business executives. Part of this effort is the creation of case studies of organizations that have applied for the Baldrige award or state awards based on Baldrige criteria.

Organizations that fit this description can fill out a questionnaire at http://www.performance-excellence.com.


REPORT: Pharmaceutical Risk Management Must Improve

A report titled Pressure Points: Risk Management in the Pharmaceutical Industry has been published by KPMG, a global network of professional services firms.

Pressure Points was a collaborative effort by KPMG’s U.S. and United Kingdom pharmaceutical practice, Professor S.P. Kothari of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and professors from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Virginia.

According to the report, the industry is up to 50% riskier than the rest of the S&P 500. Pharmaceutical companies have risk management programs in place and a “controls culture” from being in a highly regulated industry, but their risk management frameworks may not be keeping pace with the changing business model and the industry risk profile.

The report states the industry’s approach to risk management has been “detective in nature, reactive in approach and ‘siloed’ in practice.”

The authors give several recommendations for the pharmaceutical industry, including implementing an organizational approach to assess its current risk framework and using an operational approach to improve risk assessments and risk management processes.

More information can be found at http://www.kpmg.com/news/index.asp?cid=1171.

Short Runs

ENGINEERS WEEK 2006 has launched a new outreach initiative to America’s middle school teachers. The program’s agenda targets providing 10,000 of these teachers materials to encourage math and science education and includes training sessions for engineers on how to best work with teachers. Engineering Week will be Feb. 19-25, 2006. For more information on all the activities, go to http://www.eweek.org.

THE CARLSON SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT will be offering a for-credit Six Sigma improvement methodology course during the spring term to prepare MBA students for summer internship opportunities at the Green Belt level at Six Sigma organizations. Organizations interested in hiring summer 2006 in-terns can contact Sarah Lindeman at 612-626-2097 or slindeman@csom.umn.edu.

THE NATIONAL QUALITY FORUM has published 15 national consensus standards for home healthcare. How care providers meet the standards will be reported publicly, enabling consumers to compare home healthcare providers. The complete report and list of standards are at http://www.qualityforum.org.

A COALITION OF DIVERSE, cross industry organizations from around the world has committed to a world safety declaration. Among those signing the declaration were leaders of the coalition’s 15 founding companies: Aker Kvaerner Services, BE&K Services, British Petro-leum, Calvert, CEMEX, DuPont, Evergreen Aviation Tech-nologies, Fluor Services, General Electric, Hindustan Lever, Reliance Industries, Rohm & Haas, Tata Chemicals, Tata Steel and Yantai Wanhua Polyurethanes.

THE U.S. ARMY says it may be considering the use of lean Six Sigma to find $14 billion in efficiencies. According to Inside the Army, the business reengineering initiative program’s goal is to correct inefficiencies by converting military spaces to civilian ones, reducing contract support and implementing industry best practices.

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION has been certified to ISO 9001:2000 for its planning and design of road and bridge improvements according to its registrar, NSF International Strategic Registrations Ltd.

THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR NONDESTRUCTIVE TESTING has introduced an American National Standards Institute accepted standard for pipeline inspection personnel. For more information on ANSI/ASNT ILI-PQ-2005, go to http://www.asnt.org/latestnews/ilipq2005.htm.

HOSPITALS THAT USE INDUSTRIAL QUALITY CONTROL methods save more lives, according to a study that started at the University of Michigan Health System’s University Hospital and spread to 33 other hospitals in the state. The study found between 21 and 26% fewer patients died within a year of being discharged from a hospital when quality methods were used to adhere to American College of Cardiology guidelines. More information can be found at http://www.cardiosource.com/jacc.html.

RABQSA HAS LAUNCHED its management consultant certification in the United States. In addition, its AS9100 aerospace auditor certification is now online. For details, go to http://.www.rabqsa.com.

MAY 31, 2006, IS THE DEADLINE for sending abstracts for the Quality Function Deployment Institute’s annual symposium slated for Dec. 2, 2006, in Austin, TX. For details, go to http://www.qfdi.org/call_for_papers.htm.

APICS, THE ASSOCIATION FOR OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT, has introduced a new certification for supply chain professionals. Educational materials for preparing for the certification combine print and online materials in three options: self-directed, instructor led or corporate group. For information, go to http://www.apics.org/cscp.

BEST PRACTICES LLC and its Global Benchmarking Council’s Quality and Performance Forum are offering a slide presentation containing research on best practices for improving the quality function in organizations. Areas covered include organizational size and management structure; risk measurement and management; organizational impact, value and performance; and lessons learned. For more details on the study, go to http://www3.best-in-class.com/bestp/domrep.nsf/Content/EF523B25937AE43E85256FE20065FA6C!OpenDocument (case sensitive).


Governors Assn. Issues Best Practice Reports

The National Governors Assn.’s Center for Best Practices recently issued a report related to education and noted one state’s efforts to improve healthcare.

Reading to Achieve: A Governor’s Guide to Adolescent Literacy highlights several successful state based programs that have helped states improve reading achievement, raise high school graduation rates, increase the value of the high school diploma and close the widening gap between top achievers and underachievers.

Also, the center says a new online resource in Massachusetts will allow consumers easier access to important information regarding the cost and quality of medical procedures in Massachusetts hospitals.

Currently providing quality and cost measures for the most common procedures and conditions, the website will eventually include information on nursing homes, physicians, ambulatory surgery centers and pharmacies.

Quality indicators for hospitals include risk adjusted mortality rates and clinical guidelines developed by federal agencies.

The FACE of Quality

Name: C.F. Jeff Wu.

Residence: Atlanta, GA.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in science, National Taiwan Univer-sity; doctorate in statistics, University of California, Berkeley.

Current job: Professor and Coca Cola chair in engineering statistics, Georgia Institute of Technology.

Introduction to quality: Taught a course on design of experiments at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in the early 1980s when, he reminds us, U.S. manufacturing industries were being decimated by Japanese competition, and quality improvement was a task of national importance—in fact, a matter of survival.

ASQ activities: Fellow; recipient of Brumbaugh Award and Youden (twice) and Wilcoxon prizes, all for writing papers; former editor of Technometrics.

Other activities: Has supervised 31 doctoral candidates (16 are now teaching in major research departments in the United States and Canada, and two are senior vice presidents for major U.S. corporations); served as editor or associate editor of several other statistical journals.

Published works: Experiments: Planning, Analysis and Parameter Design Optimization with Mike Hamada (Wiley, 2000) and more than 100 articles.

Recent honor: Elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in 2004 for “conceiving and building modern systems of experimental design based on contemporary methods for parameter estimation to provide quality improvements.” According to ASQ, is one of the few statisticians ever elected to NAE and the first academic statistician to have received the honor.

Personal: Married; two adult children.

Favorite ways to relax: Gardening during Atlanta’s 10-month growing season; traveling to exotic places.

Quality quote: Traditionally, the main statistical ad-vances for quality were inspired by the needs of manufacturing. Walter Shewhart’s statistical process control and the recent work on robust parameter design are two prominent examples. Looking into the future, we need to expand our horizons by addressing challenging problems in areas such as high-tech industries and large service organizations. I anticipate seeing new paradigms and toolkits in the next decade as a result of these endeavors.


ISO Lays Groundwork for ISO 26000

The International Organization for Standardization (known as ISO) has decided on the structure and overall content of the future ISO 26000 standard, which will provide guidance on social responsibility. A target release date of the last quarter of 2008 has been set.

Also from ISO comes news of the latest edition of ISO 9000:2005, Quality Manage-ment Systems—Fundamentals and Vocabulary, the standard that defines the vocabulary and describes the fundamentals of quality management systems (QMSs).

This edition introduces no changes to the descriptions of the fundamentals of QMSs but adds some definitions and expands or adds some explanatory notes.


ASA/NSF Offers Research Fellowships and Grants

Dec. 10 is the proposal deadline for three American Statistical Assn./National Science Foundation research fellowships and grants:

  • The Federal Statistics Research Program fosters collaborative and interdisciplinary research efforts to stimulate the development and advancement of methodology and social science research on issues on which federal statistics agencies provide information.
  • The Census Research Program helps bridge the gap between government and academic science to bring researchers closer to the production of data sets relevant to their research.
  • A program with the Bureau of Labor Statistics allows re-searchers to address complex methodological issues.

For details on the three programs, go to http://www.amstat.org/ research_grants/index.cfm?fuseaction=main.

ASQ News

NEW ORGANIZATIONAL MEMBER VISITED Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, with 10,000 employees, recently became ASQ’s fifth organizational member. Lockheed joins Boeing, DuPont, Harley-Davidson and Sun Microsystems in the pilot membership program, which allows an organization’s employees access to ASQ knowledge, tools and training. The photo shows Paul Malek, ASQ’s manufacturing market manager, explaining the Society’s offerings to Ramona Moore, one of Lockheed Missiles’ production operations employees.

MEMBER VALUE LEADERSHIP SUMMIT A FIRST On Oct. 16-18, ASQ held its first Member Value Leadership Summit. About 180 ASQ member leaders—mostly section and division chairs—plus half the board of directors and several ASQ staff members met in Milwaukee to discuss how ASQ could increase the value of membership. Participants concluded ASQ should focus on developing and disseminating its body of knowledge. The board of directors will review a list of ideas and proposals from the summit to use in its strategic planning.

DUFFY RECEIVES QMD AWARD ASQ’s Quality Management Division (QMD) has given its highest award, the Howard Jones Award, to Grace Duffy. Duffy is president of Management Performance Systems, a business services provider in Tavares, FL, and is a vice president on ASQ’s board of directors. She is the 12th winner of the award, which is named after the first chair of the QMD.

2006 CUSTOMER-SUPPLIER SYMPOSIUM ANNOUNCED ASQ’s Customer-Supplier Division will hold its next annual symposium Feb. 1-2, 2006, in Anaheim, CA. Early bird registration begins Dec. 15, and the event is limited to 125 participants. For more information, go to http://www.asq.org/cs/conf.

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