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Using Statistical Process Control Tools to Measure and Improve Patient Care Quality and Safety — a local workshop

Benefits of the workshop

Clinical teams need to know — with statistical certainty — how to analyse variation in their practices and how to decide which variation is ‘important’. They also need to know the right type of action to take when important variation occurs.

The workshop provides healthcare practitioners with knowledge and skills to use ‘statistical process control’ techniques to measure clinical performance and to know the type of action to take to achieve any needed improvement.

Intended participants

The workshop is an introduction to using statistical process control techniques for clinical staff, managers, clinical managers, quality improvement managers, directorate leads for clinical governance, clinical effectiveness and clinical audit facilitators and multiprofessional teams working on improving their services. For the workshop, prior knowledge of statistics is a benefit, but not a requirement.

Learning objectives

Clinicians and other staff who have responsibility for monitoring clinical practice or deciding what to do about variation in practice learn about statistical process control techniques and how to apply the techniques to analyse clinical practice variations.

Participants learn:

  • why you have to understand variation before you do anything about it
  • different types of variation and how to recognize them in a display of data
  • when to act — and when not to act — on clinical practice variation
  • what statistical process control techniques are and when to use them
  • how to construct a run chart and control chart
  • how to help clinical teams to interpret run and control charts before they decide on any action to change practice
  • examples of clinical information to be analysed for quality improvement purposes
  • how to use SPC techniques for routine use by clinical staff.
Venue and format

We offer the workshop at a local level. We travel to your organization and provide the workshop on site at a time most convenient to your staff.

The workshop includes presentation of principles, techniques and guidance, and individual and group work. Participants try out the SPC techniques with examples of clinical situations and data.

The contents of the workshop depend on the length. The one-day version is an overview of statistical process control techniques with an opportunity to apply some of the principles and techniques. The two–day version includes additional techniques to help teams understand variation and when and how to use them.


Each participants receives an 96–page book that includes principles, explanations of techniques, examples and practical assignments to be done during the workshop. Certificates of participation in the workshop are provided.

What participants say about the workshop

Participant comments on the workshop include:

'Enjoyed learning about variation and found the practical part helped to reinforce the learning'

'Best description of normal distribution ever! Lots of practical work – better than just being talked at'

'The whole workshop has been put together well so I found it all valuable – it will all be useful'

'It was all valuable – I really enjoyed the whole day. The book is splendid – a resource I will refer to often'

'Understanding of median and bell curve and standard deviation – have never understood them until now'

'I found I have a much better understanding of run and control charts'

'How to create a control chart was most valuable'

'It was great to understand, properly, after lots of years and stats courses, what standard deviation was all about! Very clearly described. Thank you'


Contact us to arrange a local workshop.


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