It was Wednesday evening and I had just finished a brief pitch on applications of SPC to a group of 20. I was followed by Jim Hall, who spoke of process mapping using SIPOC.  So did these folks have solder paste under their fingernails, or wave solder flux stains on their shirts, or, perhaps, a solder preform or two stuck in their pant leg cuff?

No — none of these souls would have had any of this type of trace evidence of electronic assembly on their person. You see, they were all medical doctors and students at Harvard’s famed medical school (see image below).  (I hope it is OK that the proud dad shares that my daughter Jessica is a colleague of these folks.) 

Jim and I were presenting to the doctors, because they are interested in process optimization in the healthcare industry. The event was hosted by Dr. Andy Ellner.  He is a professor and doctor at the medical school and is a focal point for these process improvement efforts. I was introduced to him in the summer of 2009 by Dartmouth’s new President Jim Kim.

In November 2009, Jim, our colleague Larry Parah, and I facilitated Andy’s team in dramatically improving the prescription refill process in Brigham and Women’s Hospital Clinic.  Jim and I plan on working with Andy in similar efforts over the next year or two.

The most striking thing that Jim and I left with on Wednesday evening was how profoundly interested these doctors and students were in healthcare process optimization. The Q&A session lasted nearly an hour.

Ah, yes, would that our many colleagues in electronic assembly were as interested in optimizing their processes!


Dr. Ron

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About Dr. Ron

Materials expert Dr. Ron Lasky is a professor of engineering and senior lecturer at Dartmouth, and senior technologist at Indium Corp. He has a Ph.D. in materials science from Cornell University, and is a prolific author and lecturer, having published more than 40 papers. He received the SMTA Founders Award in 2003.