Seen & Heard

Put the horse before the cart

In the Statistics Roundtable column, "Wanderlust and Memory," Lynne B. Hare says that the answer to his first question is "none of the above." I believe that is the correct answer, but not for the reason he gives. He states that "control chart limits should be based on the estimate of the capability standard deviation derived from a carefully conducted process capability study."

This is putting the capability cart in front of the stability horse. A state of statistical control provides evidence of homogeneity over time for process data. Absent that, we have no rational basis for making any distributional assumptions, and therefore, no basis for a capability study. A capability study follows the establishment of a state of control, not the other way around.

Rip Stauffer
Reston, VA

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Who pays?

I have a question regarding the article "The Right Blend" by Vera Vanicek. I work with a chemical mixing room. We do not start mixing until the patient arrives because we don’t want to lose money if the patient is not able to receive the treatment. For example, the patient’s complete blood count (CBC) or vital signs may prevent chemotherapy administration. Who pays for the treatment at Advanced Medical Specialties (AMS) if the patient is not able to receive it? The article does not answer this question as a drawback to mixing one hour in advance of patient treatment.

Jeff George
Windsor, Ontario

Author’s response: Our patients come in the previous day for an assessment, office visit and CBC. The patient then comes the following day ready to receive his or her treatment (he or she is clear for chemo).

There are also a.m. assessments and p.m. chemo, meaning the patient is assessed and labs are drawn in morning and then scheduled for afternoon chemo. We only do that for some patients—for example, patients receiving five days of continuous treatment or the patients who live far from our office.

Also, we don’t mix the very expensive drugs that have a short life (stability) and if only one patient is receiving that drug. In that case, the nurse will give the mixing room the "go" for the drug to be mixed once the patient is cleared for treatment. If, for any unforeseen reason, the patient still isn’t able to receive the treatment, AMS must absorb the cost.

QP’s Most Popular Articles

  1. Crunching the Numbers: How the numbers for the 2012 Salary Survey were calculated.
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  3. Parts of the Process: How the number of parts impacts a measurement process.
  4. Process Auditing and Techniques: Understanding audit techniques.

Online Extras

Direct from the source

In this month’s Author Audio, listen to Jack B. ReVelle, author of this month's Quality in the First Person, discuss his role in preventing nuclear disaster, and how the experience not only introduced him to quality, but motivated him to dedicate his life’s work to it.

More to mine through

An online sidebar from "Dig Deeper" details the audits of two areas at a soft rock mine site that underwent a 5S blitz process. Two examples of radar charts accompany the sidebar as well.

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