I have a couple quotes from W. Edwards Deming, an American engineer, statistician, professor, author, lecturer, and management consultant, on the white board in my office that read "drive out fear" and "encourage effective two-way communication and other means so everyone in the company can be effective." I was intrigued by how many of my health care quality improvement co-workers commented on the quotes and in return, shared one of their own favorite Deming quotes. One co-worker shared "Inspection is waste"; another co-worker shared "A bad process will beat a good person every time." Another shared "In God we trust; all others must bring data" and "If you can't describe what you are doing as a process, you don't know what you are doing."
We take Deming seriously at HealthInsight. Deming has been given the title of "philosopher of quality" and championed the cause of "statistical process control." Deming was largely ignored by the production-focused United States during the 1960s and1970s. Deming took his quality message to the Japanese industrial leadership and the results produced placed him on a path to stardom in Japan. The Japanese automotive and electronic industries skyrocketed in sales due to higher quality products which were reliable over time. Most experts feel the United States missed the quality boat during this time frame as Unites States sales were down and their products did not last as long. Many industries in the United States have warmed to his quality message over time. In health care, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), among others have championed many of Deming's ideas.