A Short Exploration of Physician Practice EHR/EMR Adoption

According to recent estimates by the CDC, the use of electronic health and medical records in physician offices continues to climb.   According to data from the November 2011 NCHS Data Brief, around 57 percent of office based physicians report using some kind of electronic health/medical record system and around 34 percent report having a system […]

Volcanoes, Airplanes and Quantifying Risk

On April 19th, 2010, IATA, the chief trade group representing airlines, issued a press release which states in part: “IATA criticized Europe’s unique methodology of closing airspace based on theoretical modeling of the ash cloud. ‘This means that governments have not taken their responsibility to make clear decisions based on facts …’ said [Giovanni] Bisignani […]

Toyota: Did Six Sigma Fail or Did People Fail?

One can reasonably argue that processes don’t produce results, people do.  In and of itself a process does nothing.  It takes people to engage in a process – for better or for worse – to produce something.  On the other hand are quality pioneers like Edwards Deming who says: “Eighty-five percent of the reasons […]

The Significance of Sigma: Toyota’s Lessons in Corporate Decision Making

With the massive recall due to sudden acceleration problems, Toyota’s reputation for superior quality has suffered a black eye – if not more.  The future will tell how serious this injury is and whether it represents the tip of an ominous iceberg.  Sprinkled amongst the news coverage are hints that Toyota has known about accelerator […]

Visual Analytics: What’s The Big Deal?

During several conversations recently the following comment came up:  “What’s the big deal with visual analytics?  It’s just a bunch of pretty pictures!”  It took a while, but it finally dawned on me that we have reached the Xerox-GUI-Macintosh stage for data analysis.  The early versions of a graphical user interface (GUI) which were developed […]

Health Care Co-Operatives: Not a Viable Solution

With the Public Option now officially in doubt, suggestions regarding health care co-operatives are becoming talking points again.  Critics point out that we already have health care cooperatives that have done very little to lower health care costs.  Proponents point to success stories about how co-operative arrangements lead to better health care.

In theory, co-ops offer […]

Employer Mandate: The Wal-Mart Surprise Regarding Health Insurance

Today the Wall Street Journal and the Twitterverse are buzzing about Wal-Mart coming out in favor of an employer mandate on health insurance.  This news interests me on several levels.  Leaving aside the cynical observation that Wal-Mart is simply seeking to avoid more onerous legislation, this news raises several questions, including the following:

As the […]

Cost Drivers: Prescriber Data Increases Health Care Costs?

How to reduce the cost of our health care lies at the center of the health care reform debate.  It’s no wonder then that “cost containment” became a primary point of focus in the recent ruling by the U.S. District Court in Vermont upholding a Vermont state law which essentially prohibits the use of prescriber […]

Critical Decisions: Current Flu Scare Presents Interesting Case Study

The 2009 H1N1 flu scare presents an interesting case study for making critical decisions.  Whether to produce a vaccine, how to structure the vaccine and which quantities to manufacture are decisions that pit a potential health disaster against the needs of governments and companies to manage their resources responsibly.  From a decision making standpoint each […]