Statistical Process Control
Statistical Process Control (SPC) techniques, when applied to measurement data, can be used to highlight areas that would benefit from further investigation. These techniques enable the user to identify variation within their process. Understanding this variation is the first step towards quality improvement.
NHSScotland routinely collects a vast array of data from healthcare processes. The analysis of these data can provide invaluable insight into the behaviour of these healthcare processes.
There are many different SPC techniques that can be applied to data. The simplest SPC techniques to implement are the run and control charts. The purpose of these techniques is to identify when the process is displaying unusual behaviour. The Quality Indicators service area have produced and updated a tutorial guide which provides an introduction to the application of run charts and control charts for identifying unusual behaviour in healthcare processes. SPC techniques are a tool for highlighting this unusual behaviour. However, these techniques do not necessarily indicate that the process is either right or wrong. They merely indicate areas of the process that could merit further investigation. The tutorial guide is also an ideal accompaniment to the Excel based Control Chart Tool which is downloadable free of charge and enables customers to create and interpret SPC Charts at the touch of a button.
Further information on SPC and the tutorial guide and Excel tool can found on the Quality Improvement website.