Elizabeth Cudney

Elizabeth Cudney, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Engineering Management and Systems Engineering Department at Missouri University of Science and Technology. She received her B.S. in Industrial Engineering from North Carolina State University, Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering and Master of Business Administration from the University of Hartford, and her doctorate in Engineering Management from the University of Missouri – Rolla.

In 2014, Dr. Cudney was elected as an ASEM Fellow. In 2013, Dr. Cudney was elected as an ASQ Fellow. In 2010, Dr. Cudney was inducted as an Associate Member into the International Academy for Quality. She received the 2008 ASQ A.V. Feigenbaum Medal and the 2006 SME Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineering Award.

Beth’s major areas of interest are in Hoshin Kanri, quality engineering, pattern recognition, lean six sigma, and healthcare systems engineering. She currently teaches courses on Quality, Six Sigma, and Design for Six Sigma. Beth has published four books and over forty journal papers, seventy conference papers, and has additional work awaiting publication. In addition, her first book, Using Hoshin Kanri to Improve the Value Stream was released in March 2009 through Productivity Press, a division of Taylor and Francis.

Prior to returning to school for her doctorate, she worked in the automotive industry in various roles including Six Sigma Black Belt, Quality/Process Engineer, Quality Auditor, Senior Manufacturing Engineer, and Manufacturing Manager. Beth is an ASQ Certified Six Sigma Black Belt, Certified Quality Engineer, Manager of Quality/ Operational Excellence, Certified Quality Inspector, Certified Quality Improvement Associate, Certified Quality Technician, and Certified Quality Process Analyst.

Beth is a member of the Japan Quality Engineering Society (QES), International Academy for Quality (IAQ), American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), American Society of Engineering Management (ASEM), American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), American Society for Quality (ASQ), and Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE). She is served as the 2013-2014 President of ASEM. Beth is currently the editor of the ASQ journal Quality Approaches in Higher Education and deputy editor for the ASQ Quality Management Forum. She is also active on several ASQ committees including the Gryna Award and Feigenbaum Medal committees.


Using Hoshin Kanri to Address ISO 9001:2015 Requirements

Hoshin Kanri, or policy deployment, is a systems approach to change management in critical business processes and a methodology to improve the performance of critical business processes to achieve strategic objectives. Within organizations, the use of Hoshin Kanri improves focus on strategy and objectives, linkage between strategy and daily management, accountability, buy-in, communication, and a process-based focus. It goes beyond strategic and annual planning and includes deployment and review.

The first requirement in ISO 9001:2015 (currently at the DIS stage) is: “The organization shall determine the external and internal issues that are relevant to its purpose and its strategic direction and that affect its ability to achieve intended results of its quality management system. The organization shall monitor and review the information…” The act of creating a Hoshin strategic plan summary will provide objective evidence of an organization’s ability to meet this and several other requirements in ISO 9001:2015.

The output of a Hoshin strategic plan summary is commonly called an X-chart or an X-matrix. Creating one involves first identifying the organization’s strategic goals (typically a 5 – 10 year timeframe). Then, the organization lists its core objectives (typically 1 – 5 year timeframe). Linkage between the strategic goals and core objectives are coded as a strong relationship, a direct relationship, or neither. This provides the organization with the ability to ensure that core objectives are aligned with the long-term strategy or to revise the plan to ensure adequate alignment. Once core objectives are aligned with the strategy, the organization establishes what metrics need to be established to monitor and measure progress toward objectives. Again, linkage is coded as a strong relationship, a direct relationship, or neither to ensure that objectives are being measured and measures are not being put into place unnecessarily. Lastly, ownership is assigned to core objectives to ensure accountability.

ISO 9001:2015 requires that top management demonstrate leadership and commitment by ensuring the quality policy and objectives are established and compatible with the strategic direction of the organization (clause 5.1.1). Additionally, leaders must ensure the quality policy is communicated, understood, and applied within the organization and ensure the integration of quality system requirements into the business processes. The process of developing a Hoshin strategic plan summary, sharing it with employees, and regularly reviewing the metrics that are clearly aligned with the organization’s core objectives and strategy may be infinitely more effective than annually asking employees to memorize the quality policy in preparation for the upcoming registrar audit.

This paper and presentation will provide an overview on developing a Hoshin strategic plan summary as well as Hoshin action plans, implementation plans, and implementation reviews and how these steps correlate to ISO 9001:2015 requirements. Specific requirements addressed will include those related to leadership and commitment

Improving Patient Access to Care through Quality Improvement

Communication technology has made significant advances in the way people interact and work. Organizations are rapidly increasing their usage of this technology to communicate with their customers. This presents research that focuses on utilizing communication technology within the U.S. Veterans Health Administration (VHA) as a means of improving patient-provider communication by optimizing the current clinic telephone response (CTR) system, exploring other forms of technology, and measuring the impact of the communication efficiency and effectiveness in the VHA. The aim of this research was to assure high levels of customer satisfaction and highlight any actionable areas for improvement to the appointment notification system.

The purpose of this research was to identify alternative methods for patient appointment notification, analyze its effectiveness, and determine a method(s) for capturing this in patient records. In order to accomplish this, there were several key steps. First, it was necessary to identify patient centered opportunities and their preferences. Second, based on these preferences, the effectiveness of the solutions was quantified through statistical analysis. The solutions were also characterized based on the type of veteran. The project looked at current methods to gain baselines and provide recommendations. In addition, the focus of this project was on primary care visits as this represented the majority of visits.

For this research, alternative methods of appointment notification such as text messaging were investigated. The goal of the project was to optimize the current appointment notification system, which currently consists of mainly postal cards or letters through the U.S. Postal Service. A key aspect of the research was to develop a comprehensive understanding of Veterans’ preferences with respect to clinic appointment notification by gathering the voice of the customer through focus groups and interviews. The research also involved developing tools to track Veterans notification preferences and ensuring all privacy and cyber-security limitations were followed. Based on this information, the proposed appointment notification systems was piloted and validated using a text messaging system for appointment notification. This paper presents the gathering of the voice of the customer to develop, pilot, implement, and validate the appointment notification system, which will increase patient access to care.

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