Data Sanity: Introduction to Good, BASIC Measurement Skills

Davis Balestracci, M.S.



Due to the volume of quality data that hospitals receive and review on an ongoing basis, many employees are challenged with managing data and understanding what it means. This activity focuses on providing good, basic measurement skills.

Purpose/Goal: To provide an opportunity for nurses to identity how “process – oriented” thinking can drive organizational improvement, to look at new ways to analyze data, and to use this knowledge to increase the effectiveness of organizational conversations.


1. Identify how “process-oriented thinking” is the underlying foundation of any organization.
2. Compare traditional approaches to analyzing data to “plotting the dots,” and articulate how changing the analysis can increase the effectiveness of organizational conversations.
3. Describe a “common cause strategy” to solve a longstanding organizational problem.
4. Review a powerful cascading approach to “safety” example.


Davis Balestracci began his career as an internal industrial statistical consultant, most significantly with 3M, where he received several corporate awards for his innovative teaching and applications of statistical methods. After being exposed to W. Edwards Deming’s philosophy in 1983, his interests evolved to a broader application of statistics and cultural psychology toorganizational transformation. Since 1992, his primary involvement has been with health care. Davis has a B.S. degree in chemical engineering, an M.S. degree in statistics, yet describes himself as a “right-brained” statistician (He is a pipe organist and has also done graduate work in orchestral and choral conducting!). He is well known for his provocative, challenging, yet humorous and down-to-earth public speaking style. He is a regular speaker at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement forums in the U.S. and Europe. More than one “math phobe” has confessed to him, “Wow…this actually makes sense. I FINALLY get it!” In addition, people also appreciate his acute awareness of the daily realities of implementing statistical approaches to quality and cultural transformation – including the inherent frustrations of dealing with “those darn humans!” In 1995, at the invitation of Dr. Donald Berwick, Davis participated in a project sponsored by the Harvard Institute for International Development. He was part of team that taught health care improvement methods to 80 participants from Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Morocco, and Jordan. In 2001, he became an independent consultant, with his company name of Harmony Consulting, LLC, reflecting his unique synthesis of left-brain (analytical) and right-brain (psychological) approaches to quality…as well as “the passion of Beethoven composing symphonies” with which he approaches his work (Click on the left margin “brain” if you visit his web site: He has consulted and given seminars in Israel, Palestine, Vietnam, Norway, Denmark, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia and, since 2003, has developed a special relationship with the national health services of England and Wales. He has also been part of the faculty for the annual Harvard Safety Colloquium since 2007. Davis is a senior member of the American Society for Quality (2003-2004 Chair of its Statistics Division) and, from January 2004 to December 2008, his unique approach reached 70,000 people a month through his monthly statistical columnist for Quality Digest ( He has recently prepared a 3rd edition of his book, Data Sanity: A Quantum Leap to Unprecedented Results, published by the Medical Group Management Association (January 2009).

The planners and authors of this CNE activity have disclosed no relevant financial relationships with any commercial companies pertaining to this activity.

Contact Hours: 1

Expiration Date: 12/31/2014


Member Price: $35.00
Non-Member Price: $45.00

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