Healthy Returns

Healthcare organizations with
Baldrige honors outperform peers

Healthcare organizations that received the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award or were considered for a site visit by Baldrige examiners have outperformed other hospitals in nearly every metric used to select the nationally recognized 100 Top Hospitals.

According to a Thomson Reuters research paper, healthcare organizations that used Baldrige criteria were six times more likely to be counted among the 100 Top Hospitals ranking, also performed by Thomson Reuters. The healthcare organizations using Baldrige criteria also statistically outperformed the top 100 on core measures established by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

"Hospitals using the Baldrige process are significantly more likely to become 100 Top Hospitals award winners, thereby achieving performance equal to or better than the top 3%," according to the research paper titled "Comparison of Baldrige Award Applicants and Recipients With Peer Hospitals on a National Balanced Scorecard."

"Although the Baldrige process and the 100 Top Hospitals statistical measurement are quite different, the results of this study suggest that the methods are complementary and identify similar high-achieving organizations," the report states.

Harry Hertz, director of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, said the study confirmed "what we’ve known for years: Using the Baldrige criteria and the earnest pursuit of the Baldrige evaluation will improve your organization by nearly every measure of success, be it in outcomes, safety, customer and employee satisfaction, or profitability."

Healthcare organizations have accounted for more than 50% of Baldrige award applicants since 2005.

The study is available at www.nist.gov/baldrige/upload/baldrige-hospital-research-paper.pdf. Details on Thomson Reuters’ Top 100 Hospitals rankings are found at www.100tophospitals.com/top-national-hospitals.


Lean and Six Sigma Conference
Scheduled for February

More than 50 sessions and workshops are planned, and more than 80 experts and authorities on lean and Six Sigma are scheduled to appear at the 12th annual ASQ Lean and Six Sigma Conference, Feb. 27-28, 2012, in Phoenix.

Confirmed keynote speakers include:

  • Ari Weinzweig, CEO and cofounding partner of Zingerman’s Community of Businesses.
  • Greg North, vice president of corporate lean Six Sigma at Xerox.

ASQ’s Six Sigma Forum and the Lean Enterprise Division are conference cosponsors. Last year, more than 400 people attended the event.

Early registration rates—$1,095 for members and $1,295 for nonmembers—are available through Jan. 17. After that, rates increase to $1,195 for members and $1,395 for nonmembers. Group discounts are also available.

For more details about registration and updates on the conference lineup, call 800-248-1946 or visit http://asq.org/conferences/six-sigma.

Who’s Who in Q

NAME: Heather Crawford.


EDUCATION: Master’s of science degree in information studies from Florida State University in Tallahassee.

CURRENT JOB: Director of quality assurance and regulatory affairs for Apollo Endosurgery in Austin, TX. Apollo Endosurgery develops flexible surgical devices that combine laparoscopic surgery and therapeutic gastroenterology to provide less- invasive treatment options for a variety of gastrointestinal disorders. Crawford also has her own consulting company, HLC Consulting, specializing in regulatory affairs and quality assurance for medical devices.

INTRODUCTION TO QUALITY: While working as a pharmacy technician during high school, Crawford recognized the potential for serious consequences if medications, instructions and procedures were not handled properly.

ASQ ACTIVITIES: As a senior member of ASQ, Crawford serves on the Division Affairs Council (DAC) Administrative Committee, is the incoming chair of the ASQ Standards Committee for the 2012-2014 term and is a former chair of the ASQ Biomedical Division.

OTHER ACTIVITIES: Crawford is a voting member of the U.S. technical advisory group (TAG) to ISO/technical committee (TC) 176—Quality Management and Quality Assurance, and the U.S. TAG to ISO/TC 210/WG 01—Application of Quality Systems to Medical Devices. Crawford is also an ASQ-certified biomedical auditor.

PUBLISHED WORKS: Crawford contributed to and was a lead editor of the certified biomedical auditor exam preparation course offered jointly by ASQ and the Biomedical Division.

RECENT HONORS: This year, Crawford was awarded the Marvin Rosenbaum Distinguished Service Award by the ASQ Biomedical Division. Crawford has also received an ASQ Testimonial Award.

PERSONAL: Crawford and her husband, Kevin, have a cat, Oliver.

OTHER ACTIVITIES: Away from work, Crawford is an active member of the Junior League of Austin and volunteers with several community organizations. She serves on the board of directors of Partnerships for Children, which provides critical resources to abused and neglected children in central Texas who are under the care of the state’s Child Protective Services. Crawford prepares books for transcription to Braille for the Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired. 

QUALITY QUOTE: As professionals, we make countless decisions affecting the quality of products and services we provide.  In addition to the immediate customer, which is often internal, we should always consider the potential effect of our decisions on the ultimate customer.


Toyota Brands Top Reliability Ranking

If the latest auto reliability survey from Consumer Reports tells us anything, it’s that it’s good to be a member of the Toyota family.

The Japanese automaker known for its vaunted Toyota Production System landed its best-known brands in the top 10: luxury nameplate Lexus in second and Toyota in the fifth slot. But topping all 28 brands in the 2011 survey was Toyota’s youth-focused Scion, which bested all other competitors for the second year in a row.

The trio from Toyota had plenty of company from its Japanese brethren, which accounted for the top nine spots in the survey. Sweden-based Volvo, in 10th place, was the lone non-Japanese brand to crack the top 10 (see Table 1 for the complete list).

Table 1

The results also featured a precipitous drop for two automakers that landed in the top 10 in 2010. Porsche, which was No. 2 a year ago, plummeted to 27th, while Ford dropped from 10th to 20th.

The magazine chalked up Porsche’s fall to a lack of data, as numbers were available for only two models. Ford’s fate, on the other hand, was tied to below-average ratings for its Explorer, Fiesta and Focus models. Also hurting Ford in the survey was a pair of technological missteps—one on the entertainment side and another under the hood.

The same MyFord Touch system that left the automaker trailing much of the field in the 2011 J.D. Power & Associates initial quality study negatively affected its standing in the Consumer Reports survey, as complaints ranged from a hands-free phone system that dials incorrect numbers to a faulty touch screen.

The other stumble came in the form of Ford’s PowerShift transmission, which was designed to merge a manual transmission’s efficiency with the simplicity of an automatic one. Instead, consumers discovered a gearbox that left them rattled at low speeds and in stop-and-go traffic.

"Especially at lower speeds in parking-lot areas, it’s a very jerky transmission," said David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports’ auto test center. "It was very difficult to get a smooth drive-away."1

Soon after the survey’s release, Ford announced a fix for one of the two issues: a software upgrade for its MyFord and
MyLincoln Touch systems. About 250,000 U.S. owners will receive flash drives containing the update, which they can install or take to dealerships for installation.2

Among other U.S. automakers, Chrysler took the 15th spot, up from 27th in 2010. Its Jeep brand landed two places higher in 13th. "I think in some ways, Doug Betts, who is in charge of quality, has got a single focus on really bringing Chrysler back into the fold," Champion said. "He realizes that they have to get the reliability right."3

But interestingly, it was one of the worst-performing vehicles that got good news in the wake of the survey. The Chevrolet Cruze, which received the lowest rating of any small car, was the best seller in the segment through September with 187,524 delivered in the United States, according to data from J.D. Power. That dwarfs Scion’s highest-rated model, the xD, which had U.S. sales of just 7,292 vehicles during the same period.4

—Brett Krzykowski, assistant editor


  1. Cheryl Jensen, "Japanese Brands Dominate Consumer Reports Reliability Survey, While Ford Falters," http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/25/japanese-brands-dominate-consumer-reports-reliability-survey-while-ford-falls-10-spots.
  2. Dee-Ann Durbin, "Ford to Upgrade MyFord Touch After Taking Heat," Associated Press, Nov. 7, 2011.
  3. Brent Snavely, "Consumer Reports Reliability Survey: Ford Falls to No. 20, Chrysler Brands Improve," Detroit Free Press, Oct. 25, 2011.
  4. Cheryl Jensen, "Some Losers in Consumer Reports Reliability Survey Are Winners in Showrooms," http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/26/some-losers-in-consumer-reports-reliability-survey-are-winners-in-showrooms.


Word to the Wise

To educate newcomers and refresh practitioners and professionals, QP occasionally features a quality term and definition:

QEDS Standards Group

The U.S. Standards Group on Quality, Environment, Dependability and Statistics consists of the members and leadership of organizations concerned with the development and effective use of generic and sector-specific standards on quality control, assurance and management; environmental management systems and auditing; dependability; and the application of statistical methods.


ASQ News

UPCOMING EXAMS The deadline to register for ASQ’s next round of certification exams is in early January 2012. Exams for eight certifications will be held at various locations in February and March. For more details, visit www.asq.org/certification/dates.html.

E-BOOKS EVERYWHERE More than 50 books published by ASQ Quality Press are now available in electronic format from a variety of sources so you can read them on your computer, laptop, phone or tablet. Outlets that sell the ASQ Quality Press titles include: the Amazon Kindle stores in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Canada; the Apple iTunes stores in the United States, Australia, Canada, European Union and the United Kingdom; and the Barnes & Noble Nook store in the United States. In addition, more than 200 titles are available from the Google Editions bookstores in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and Italy.


Quick Poll Results

Each month at www.qualityprogress.com, visitors can take an informal survey, and we post the results.

Here are the numbers from a recent Quick Poll:

"What has been the most significant contribution of young quality professionals at your organization?"

  • Ambition and energy. 52.7%
  • Innovative Ideas. 27.3%
  • Tech savvy. 12.7%
  • Work ethic. 7.2%

Visit www.qualityprogress.com for the most recent poll question:

"What’s the best way to promote yourself and advance your career?"

  • Be active in professional groups.
  • Earn and maintain certifications.
  • Keep résumé updated.
  • Network with colleagues.
  • Pursue education and training.

QP Classics

To celebrate ASQ’s 65th anniversary this year, each month QP is spotlighting classic content online. This month, you can download QP’s inaugural salary survey report from April 1987.

Author Audio

This month, listen to a webcast of Max Christian Hansen, a coauthor of this year’s salary report, discussing some of the survey’s results.

As Seen in QNT

Quality News Today (QNT) is QP’s daily news feed of the latest quality-related headlines. Articles from national and international news sources are posted every business day on www.qualityprogress.com. Recent articles posted on QNT include:

  • "Thailand Floods Submerge Supply Chain," an article about how this natural disaster has exposed the vulnerability of global supply chains.
  • "Apple Bruised by History of Glitches," an article questoning whether the computer giant is doing enough quality control testing on its new iPhones.

You can also follow QNT on Twitter via @ASQ_Brett and get the latest quality-related headlines from around the globe. To have the top headlines delivered via email each week, sign up for the QNT Weekly e-newsletter at http://asq.org/keepintouch.html.

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