Quality Matters: October 2005

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Welcome to Quality Matters, a monthly roundup of news and opinion on quality measurement, information technology, quality improvement initiatives, and policy innovations.

Issue of the Month: Putting Engineering to Work in Health Care
Advances in computing and telecommunications led the field of engineering to broaden its focus from industries that manufacture goods to include those that provide services—such as airline transportation and financial services. Now that systems engineering tools have proven effective in the service sector, health care experts are starting to take notice. More

News Briefs
Selected stories on patient safety, health care quality, and information technology from the professional literature. More

Case Study: Flow Management at St. John's Regional Health Center
To resolve problems with an erratic and inefficient operating room schedule and difficult-to-manage peaks and valleys in elective surgery admissions, a large Midwestern hospital instituted new methods for scheduling surgeries using the systems engineering principle of flow management. More than three years later, St. John's surgical departments continue to see consistent, significant improvements in efficiency, revenue, number of patients served, quality of post-operative care, and patient satisfaction. More

Recent Publications of Note

Recent Editorials of Note