Salary Survey Shows Need for MBB Certification

It was interesting to compare the salaries for various ASQ certifications (“Top Dogs Rule—Plus a Look Back,” December 2005, p. 23). I noticed Master Black Belts(MBBs) earned about $20,000 more per year than Black Belts (an ASQ certification). I wonder why ASQ does not have an MBB certification to help members qualify for larger incomes. Talk about added value!

Bryan Miller Consulting
Florence, AL

Editor’s note: Sally Harthun, ASQ’s certification manager, says a Master Black Belt (MBB) certification is under consideration, but to date, most experts and MBBs ASQ has consulted believe the body of knowledge needs further development before a certification could be built around it.

Articles Provide Diversity, Training Resource

The diversity of articles in Quality Progress is enjoyable, directional and encouraging.

In the past, most quality related articles focused on manufacturing and R&D in U.S. organizations. That was OK when most quality jobs were in the United States, but times have changed. Quality has found a larger place in the world.

QP’s diverse articles remind us quality methodologies and tools are being used worldwide in a broad range of applications. This shows all industries have problems to solve.

The diversity of articles reminds experienced quality professionals of opportunities outside the traditional areas we know. It also informs those new to quality of the wide range of principles they can apply to their careers to make their jobs easier and make a difference in the world.

With quality departments being downsized or eliminated, who is going to provide quality training? Much of it can come from magazines like QP. The challenge is to get the magazine in front of nonquality focused people.

NN Enterprise
Sacramento, CA

Crosby Excerpt Useful, Despite Typo

I enjoyed the December book excerpt (“Crosby’s 14 Steps to Improve-ment,” Philip B. Crosby, p. 60). I was introduced to Crosby’s influence in the 1980s when I became a software quality engineer at IBM. I’ve been an advocate ever since.

As I was reading the article, something I’ve done several times myself jumped out at me. In the paragraph that begins “As for yourself …” (p. 61), the second sentence reads, “The result of quality improvement is improved everything else, form sales to absenteeism.” I believe the word is supposed to be “from.”

I take light in finding the error, as I often make the same mistake. I find in reading articles and books, it is common to discover such errors no matter how much we attempt to correct them before going to press.

Capital Technology Services
Rockville, MD

‘QP’ Discussion Board

“QP Mailbag” occasionally publishes recent excerpts from Quality Progress’ online discussion board, open to all ASQ members. To post your thoughts, go to www.asq.org/pub/qualityprogress and click Discussion Board, under Resources.

There is much to be said for interdisciplinary collaboration and continuous improvement in healthcare. Achievements featured in the November 2005 issue should be acknowledged. However, a lack of balance in those articles also deserves notice.

Opening paragraphs again proclaim nearly 100,000 yearly deaths in the United States due to medical error. We manage what we measure, and epidemiology seeks to measure adverse event rates accurately so meaningful trends can be recognized. That number of attributable deaths should be recognized as questionable.

University of British Columbia
British Columbia, Canada

The number of 98,000 deaths a year due to hospital medical error has been documented as a significant underestimate. A Healthgrade study over three years (2000-2002) looked at 100% of U.S. Medicare admissions and determined the number is 197,000. The Institute of Medicine study that proclaimed 98,000 was limited in time and scope (only a few states).

Also, it should be noted that in 2003, the National Committee for Quality Assurance stated an additional 57,000 people a year were dying because of the gap between what healthcare professionals know to do and what they are actually doing. Half of that number came from two diseases, diabetes and hypertension, which can be easily controlled if healthcare professionals implemented the knowledge they have.

United Community Health Center
Green Valley, AZ

Aren’t you forgetting about individual responsibility for diet, exercise and proper medication? Healthcare professionals may have knowledge, but that does not guarantee patients effectively use it.


As for the patient’s responsibility, you are right on. However, there is a tool for the provider to use—it’s called self-management.

The provider has a discussion with the patient to set a reasonable goal that will help the patient assume better control and management of his or her illness. For example, the patient may set a management goal to walk three miles every day. The provider then asks the patient whether the goal can really be done consistently between this visit and the next. If the patient can’t honestly give at least a 70% confidence rating, or the provider thinks the patient is not being realistic about goal setting, then the provider needs to facilitate a more reasonable goal, such as walking 10 blocks three times a week.

Simple self-management goals are essential, but the provider must be the one to facilitate and engage the patient in making reasonable goals and monitoring the progress of meeting them. By using self-management goals, the provider begins transferring to the patient a personal responsibility in managing his or her illness.

Caring for illness is the responsibility of both the provider and the patient. Having one without the other will not be effective.


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