Posted: November 21st, 2022
Week Two Discussion 3
Respond to at least two of your classmates’ postings with EACH discussion question
Healthcare around the world has a variety of methods that are utilized by physicians. Variation is something that can offer innovation within healthcare communities but can also cause inconsistencies and irregularities with how care is provided (Joshi et al., 2014). Within the healthcare realm there are many instances where care and best practices can vary from physician to physician (Joshi et al, 2014). Due the vast number of physicians across the world, treatments for patients can vary depending on the training and experience received.
Variation in healthcare can be good in many instances. It is obvious that physicians try to maintain their training and best practices but sometimes there is a need to stray from the normality of treatment. In some instances, variation in healthcare can be justified and can be considered acceptable variation. When a physician decides to deviate from their normal practices to meet a patient needs such as specific symptoms, circumstances, and values it can be viewed as acceptable (Cripps, 2017). Eventually when a new practice that is considered it be a variation is becoming more widely used, it will no longer be a variation but rather a normal practice (Cripps, 2017). Variation provides innovation and creates possibility within healthcare. Without the implementation of variation some ‘best practices’ would not be utilized today.
Variation is widely accepted by many physicians around the world due to the innovations and new methods it can provide, but there also instances where acceptable variation is not warranted. One of the biggest issues that come with variations is physicians straying too far from best practices. It has been seen that variation can promote new findings in treatment, but when treatment becomes detrimental to a patient and their families it is unacceptable (Cripps, 2017).
As healthcare leaders it is important for us to understand variation. Variation can provide benefits to use as leaders and help us improve processes. The innovation and improvements that variation can provide can be groundbreaking. Although, it is important for us to understand that even though it can provide improvements it can also have negative effects. When improving and changing processes we must be able to distinguish what is truly acceptable variation and make the appropriate call to implement the variation into our daily practices.
Cripps, M. (2017, January 4).
What do we mean by ‘variation’ and when it is ‘unwarranted’? NHS choices. Retrieved November 4, 2022, from
S., J. M., R., R. E., B., N. D., & B., R. S. (2014).
The Healthcare Quality Book: Vision, Strategy, and Tools (3rd ed.). Health Administration Press.
In my opinion, variations in healthcare are the differences in processes, techniques, and outcomes in healthcare that are the results of either intended or unintended causes. These variations especially the intended variations can be good or bad depending on how they are managed. According to Edwards Deming variation is the enemy of quality. To improve outcomes, health systems should recognize where and how inconsistency impacts their outcomes and reduce unwanted variation.
An example of variation in patient care that is considered “acceptable variation” can be a variation in processes that are desired by a customer. For instance, a customer may prefer a telemedicine appointment vice an in-person appointment to see his or her, primary care physician. In this type of variation, the customer initiated the variation to meet his or her need.
An example of variation in healthcare that is considered “unacceptable” is inequality of access. The story of Australian security guide, Aim, who had uncontrollable diarrhea, can be used to elaborate on this. He did not know where to access care and his medical insurance did not make it easy for him to access care either. His diarrhea got worse to the point that he had to take an extra pair of pants to work just in case he have an accident. By the time he went to the ER to receive care, it was too late, for the physicians to treat his diarrhea. He had to undergo surgery to have his bowels removed. Fortunately for him, he survived the surgery. The question is if Aim had access to care, could he have gotten his diarrhea treated and not gotten his bowels removed? Inequality of access to care is a problem in the US healthcare system and this is the type of variation that is unacceptable and needs to be reduced or prevented.
It is important to understand variations because the quality of healthcare outcomes we provide is dependent on the processes that are designed to yield those outcomes. When we understand the variations in the processes, we can then use data-driven information to control our processes to yield the outcomes that are desirable. It is important to understand the different types of variations so we can take different measures to change the processes.
Acquaviva, K. D., & Joshi, M. (2014).
The Healthcare Quality Book: Vision, strategy and tools, Third edition. Health Administration Press.
Dugan, A. (2021, February 2).
Introduction to healthcare variation – conjoint professor Anne Duggan. YouTube. Retrieved November 4, 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNy3ZjTXdBQ
Public Health Center for Excellence. (2015, April 3).
Understanding variation in processes. YouTube. Retrieved November 4, 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQ1Z87Wit2g
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