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Cecelia McCain, director of corporate quality, ER-One

Cecelia McCain, an ASQ member since 1992, works as the director of corporate quality for ER-One in Livonia, MI. The company manages and provides physician, nurse practitioner and physician assistant staffing for emergency departments in 10 hospitals in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The second arm of the company is NetMD Business, which provides medical billing and practice management services for emergency departments and ambulatory physician facilities.

As the director of corporate quality, McCain is responsible for the design, development and deployment, as well as the ongoing management of the company’s quality management system, which includes clinical and nonclinical processes.

McCain received her initial quality training and certification in quality auditing, planning, improvement and benchmarking from the Juran Institute. Additionally, she attended Davenport University in Grand Rapids, MI, completed ASQ auditor and Six Sigma Black Belt refresher training. She is an ASQ certified Six Sigma Black Belt.

McCain recently answered questions about the importance of Six Sigma and quality, and gave her favorite benefit of quality.

What do you think is most important in implementing a Six Sigma project?
The implementation phase is where projects are most likely to lose momentum and sacrifice any benefits gained in previous phases. During project implementation it is absolutely essential that ongoing process ownership is clearly defined—and agreed upon—and that the project team doesn’t cut corners, jump to early conclusions or try to shortcut the process in any way.

Why do you think Six Sigma is important?
I think Six Sigma is important for a number of reasons:

  1. Every process has variation and therefore has opportunity for improvement to reduce that variation.
  2. Six Sigma forces a structured approach to determining the actual root cause of the problem to ensure sustained results over time.
  3. Six Sigma forces the use of data to make decisions versus the team members’ opinions.

Why do you think quality is important?
I think quality is important because its foundation is a process-based approach to planning and improvement versus a people-based approach. Everything companies do to create value for their customers is based on how well processes perform—people can only work within the processes that are implemented.

What’s your favorite benefit of quality?
My favorite benefit of quality is that you can track results to understand how well your processes are performing. Also, when those processes are not meeting goals, there is a structured method to identify and eliminate root cause and improve them.

Why did you choose to go into the quality field?
I had the opportunity to work on the design and development of the quality system when I worked at Kelly Services as part of its effort to achieve the Ford Q1 Award. It was something totally new to me, and I welcomed the learning experience.

What’s your best advice to someone new to quality?
My best advice is to hook up with ASQ. Use the website, publications and tools that are available. Join your local chapter and network with other quality professionals. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

McCain was a contributing author for The Certified Six Sigma Green Belt Handbook and has authored many articles and columns on quality tools in Quality Progress, including “How Do You Begin?” “That’s So Random, Or Is It?” and “Using an FMEA in a Service Setting.” McCain has also contributed numerous quality tools to the Six Sigma Forum Tools and Templates page: Performance Gap Matrix Template, Assignable Cause Log, Control Plan Template and Project Ticket Template.

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