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Rejoinder of "An Emerging Science of Improvement in Health Care"

Summary: This article is a rejoinder to comments by Ronald J.M.M. Does, Jeroen de Mast; and Marit Schoonhoven on the authors' article "An Emerging Science of Improvement in Health Care," Quality Engineering, Volume 27, Number 1 (January 2015), pages 17-34. The comments appear on pages 35-40 of the same issue. Hellström, Lifvergren, and Gustavsson agree that operations management is a discipline of great importance to a science of improvement in health care. However, they argue that the methods within operations management have a more sustainable effect if they are complemented with approaches of a social science origin. The authors agree with Does and colleagues that medical science in many respects is a mature science; however, they still believe that ideas from a science of improvement have much to offer medical science. Even though huge amounts of medical data are gathered from patient processes, there is still very little use of, for instance, control charts, and in the traditional clinical research paradigm, one-factor-at-a-time experiments are still used in the randomized controlled trials instead of, for example, fractional factorial designs. In conclusion, the authors agree with Does and colleagues about the importance of operations management and its different practices. However, they would like to embed these into a more general framework utilizing a large number of approaches originating from the social sciences.

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  • Topics: Quality Management, Continuous Improvement
  • Keywords: Health care, Healthcare industry, Quality improvement (QI), Process improvement, Control charts, Fractional factorial design
  • Author: Bergman, Bo; Hellström, Andreas; Lifvergren, Svante; Gustavsson, Susanne M.;
  • Journal: Quality Engineering