Skip Navigation LinksHome > January/February 2012 - Volume 18 - Issue 1 > Understanding and Controlling Variation in Public Health
Journal of Public Health Management & Practice:
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0b013e318233d5eb
Commentary

Understanding and Controlling Variation in Public Health

Mason, Marlene J. MBA, BSN; Moran, John W. MBA, MS, PhD, CMC, CQIA, CMQ/OE

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Abstract

Variation in work processes is a critically important concept and method for creating true and sustainable improvement in public health services and activities. This article describes the concept of variation based on W. Edwards Deming's profound knowledge and defines basic terms such as common cause and special cause variation. Control charts are explained as the primary tool for calculating variation within work processes. The article also provides an example of how variation theory can be applied to create sustainable improvement in public health.

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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