Statistical process control for hospitals: Methodology, user education, and challenges

Nikolas Matthes, Samuel Ogunbo, Gaither Pennington, Nell Wood, Marilyn K. Hart, Robert F. Hart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The health care industry is slowly embracing the use of statistical process control (SPC) to monitor and study causes of variation in health care processes. While the statistics and principles underlying the use of SPC are relatively straightforward, there is a need to be cognizant of the perils that await the user who is not well versed in the key concepts of SPC. This article introduces the theory behind SPC methodology, describes successful tactics for educating users, and discusses the challenges associated with encouraging adoption of SPC among health care professionals. To illustrate these benefits and challenges, this article references the National Hospital Quality Measures, presents critical elements of SPC curricula, and draws examples from hospitals that have successfully embedded SPC into their overall approach to performance assessment and improvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-214
Number of pages10
JournalQuality management in health care
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2007


  • Control charts
  • Performance improvement
  • SPC education in health care
  • Statistical process control (SPC)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management
  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy
  • Care Planning


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