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ASQ — Problem Solving Tools Resources: Problem Concentration Diagram (2)

By Jean-Pierre Amiel posted 02/15/23 06:03 AM


This second article introduces the Problem Concentration Diagram, a root cause analysis tool to help delve deeper into the possible causes and zoom in on the root cause by helping connect events to physical locations, thus perhaps revealing patterns of occurrence.

This series of articles presents techniques to identify a "problem", identify its most likely cause (root cause) and then resolve the situation. These articles are also extracted from ASQ's Quality Resources library which showcases information related to the quality world's Body of knowledge (BOK) and compiled from more than 75 years’ worth of content for all experience levels. It is only meant to be a starting point.

Problem Concentration Diagram Procedure:
  1. Design the diagram by drawing a map of the building, area, or system.
  2. Determine whether location-based event occurrence data already exist. If yes, skip to step 4.
  3. If not, define what events are to be recorded and collect data linking events to locations.
  4. Where more than one event is recorded, assign symbols to each.
  5. Populate the diagram with the collected data by plotting the events on the diagram.
  6. Analyze the diagram to identify patterns of event occurrences.
In this example, a diagram based on a rough sketch of buildings and grounds, indicating types of rooms where falls were recorded (stars mark the falls), a clear pattern emerged, with bathrooms and bedrooms seeing the most falls (and even more specifically, the immediate surroundings of toilets and beds, respectively).

Excerpted from Root Cause Analysis and Improvement in the Healthcare Sector: A Step-by-Step Guide, ASQ Quality Press.

§ This News post was adapted by J.P. Amiel, ASQ Senior, CQA ret., Web committee Chair, from content at ASQ's Quality Resources pages, which is excerpted and adapted from various publications in the ASQ Quality Press.

ASQ References:

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