Case Study 1: Statistical Thinking in Health Care

Read the following case study.


All staff members of a sizable health maintenance organization were given access to an intense course on statistical thinking for business improvement, and Ben Davis had just finished it. He was already under a lot of pressure, so there was no time to rejoice. Ben is a pharmacy assistant at the HMO, and Juan de Pacotilla, his manager, was ready to lose his job. Numerous complaints and even a few lawsuits over incorrect prescriptions made Juan’s removal seem likely. Now, Juan was pleading with Ben for help in solving the issue, preferably today!

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I absolutely need your assistance, Ben! By the end of the month, if I can’t demonstrate a significant improvement or at least a sound plan, I’m done.
Juan, I’ll be happy to assist, but what can I do? I’m merely a pharmacy assistant.
“I don’t give a damn about what your title is; I believe you’re the only one who can finish this. I acknowledge that I’ve been too far removed from the pharmacy’s daily operations, but you go to work there every day. You are in a far better position to determine the solution. If you only tell me what to do, I’ll comply.
But what about the statistician you employed to examine the information on incorrect prescriptions?
Ben, I must admit that I was very disappointed in that man. He has been working for two weeks to develop a fresh modeling strategy to anticipate weekly erroneous prescriptions. I made an effort to convey to him that my goal is to completely remove errors rather than foresee them. I don’t think I succeeded, though, since he stated that we need a month’s worth of extra data to confirm the model before he can utilize a novel technique he recently discovered to find “change points in the time series,” whatever that may imply. What’s more, he merely sends me a list of the change points and says it’s my responsibility to understand what they represent and how to respond. I don’t know much about statistics; all I remember from my college course is that it was the worst course I’ve ever taken. However, I’m coming to the conclusion that statistics aren’t really useful for solving practical problems. But because you just finished this course on statistical reasoning, perhaps you can notice something I can’t. I find the phrase “statistical thinking” to be an oxymoron. Although it’s a long shot, I was hoping you could utilize this as your final project to formally pass the class.

“Juan, I see your point. The same thing happened to me. However, the fact that this course didn’t emphasize number crunching made it engaging. This would be a terrific endeavor, and I have some thoughts about how we can increase the accuracy of prescriptions. However, we might not be able to resolve it on our own. As you are aware, there is a lot of finger-pointing going on: the doctors accuse pharmacy assistants like me, who actually enter the majority of the prescriptions into the computer, of being incompetent, while the assistants typically accuse the pharmacists of presuming too much about our familiarity with medical terminology, brand names, known drug interactions, etc.
“Ben, it seems like there is no hope at all!”

“I definitely wouldn’t say that, Juan. Just that there could not be a simple solution we could find in the pharmacy on our own. Let me describe how I’m thinking about this and how I would suggest approaching the problem using the statistical thinking skills I recently acquired.

G. C. Britz, D. W. Emerling, L. B. Hare, R. W. Hoerl, and J. E. Shade are the authors. Quality Progress (June 1997): 6780 “How to Teach Others to Apply Statistical Thinking”

As Ben Davis, compose a three- to four-page paper in which you address this issue using the strategy described in the textbook. You’ll have to guess about the procedures the HMO pharmacy employs. Additionally, kindly use the Internet to read articles about typical issues or mistakes that pharmacies encounter. You should cover the following topics in your essay:

1. Create a process map that details the prescription filling procedures for HMO pharmacies and identifies the main issues that might be present. Next, examine the HMO pharmacy’s business process using the supplier, input, process stages, output, and customer (SIPOC) model.
2. Examine the SIPOC model and process map to find any potential primary root causes of the issues. Next, determine whether the primary core causes of the issue are common causes or special causes. Give a justification for your response.
3. Provide a list of the primary tools you’d use and the data you’d gather to analyze the business process and fix the issue. Justify your answer.
4. Offer one (1) solution to the ongoing issue(s) with the HMO pharmacy and one (1) method to evaluate the proposed solution. Give a justification for your response.
5. Use a minimum of two (2) reliable references. Note that Wikipedia and other websites are not acceptable sources for academic research.
These formatting criteria must be adhered to in your assignment:

• Be typed with one-inch margins all around, Times New Roman font in size 12, double spacing, and APA style citations and references. If there are any more instructions, ask your lecturer.
• A cover page with the assignment’s title, the student’s name, the professor’s name, the course title, and the date should be included. The required assignment page length does not include the cover page or the reference page.
The specific learning objectives for the course linked to this assignment are:

• Explain how statistical thinking helps businesses stay competitive.
• Incorporate statistical thinking’s foundational ideas into business procedures.
• Use the SIPOC model to find OFIs in operational procedures.
• Research issues in business process improvement using technology and information resources.
• Use good writing mechanics to write about business process improvement in a clear and succinct manner.


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