The run chart is a very simple, yet very powerful tool that sees many various kinds of uses across different industries and sectors. Some people tend to ignore it due to its apparent shallowness and inability to convey complex concepts, but the truth is that this kind of simplicity can actually be extremely beneficial in some situations. Learning to use run charts properly, and identifying the situations that call for them, can lead to great improvements in your skill set as a leader.
Healthcare is a field that regularly benefits from modern tools and advanced techniques, but it can also put some classic, simpler methods to good use and even combine them in different ways to solve problems in optimal ways. It should not be a surprise that run charts see a frequent use in this environment, and any healthcare professional who still hasn’t integrated run charts into their facility should definitely reconsider the way they are running things.
Representing Studies in an Intuitive Manner
You’ll commonly be running various studies and tests on patients to determine their current status, and it’s important to have a good way of visualizing the results of those tests. A run chart can give you a very simple, yet effective overview of how a certain variable has changed over time, which will not only allow you to know if you’re moving in the right direction, but it can make the situation more intuitive for your colleagues as well.
After all, if it’s your job to implement improvement processes in the facility, some of your coworkers may not be familiar with the methods used for analyzing and evaluating data. It’s important to have some way of representing things in an easily understandable way that allows you to get the point across with minimal additional explanation.
This of course assumes that the data you’re working with is simple enough to be visualized in this manner in the first place. Sometimes you can’t represent the way something changes with a set of points connected by a bar, and you might want to use a different technique in that case. It’s important to ensure that this does not complicate things too much for your coworkers though, and you must always be striving to keep things as simple as possible at a glance.
Identifying Long-Term Trends
It’s sometimes important to identify when a certain aspect of the processes in your healthcare facility has been changing with a specific trend, especially if you can identify a negative one that can call for an improvement. Depending on the kind of data you’re working with and how it’s structured, those patterns can sometimes be difficult to spot. A run chart can make it clear when there is a certain trend over time though, especially if you adjust the scale appropriately.
It can also prove very useful when comparing several different data sets, in which case you’ll benefit a lot from having a simple way to compare the changes and the way the variables have evolved over time. Sure, you can analyze things algorithmically most times, but it’s often far easier to just get a quick overview of the situation.
Never underestimate the usefulness of a run chart, and study their application very carefully when you’re working in a healthcare facility. You will soon realize that there are many situations that call for the use of a run chart, and applying the tool correctly in your workflow can significantly improve your workflow, not to mention that of your colleagues. Even those without a significant understanding of data can still benefit a lot from such representations and learn a lot from the data visualized in them.
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