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DATA SANITY: A Quantum Leap to Unprecedented Results

What they’re saying about Davis…

"I attended your session regarding Data Sanity at the Patient Safety Academy at USM. First let me say that it was wonderful and exactly what I had been trying to convince my boss/Board about for months! Thank you for providing me with additional ammunition!"

"Your lecture inspired me to change the process in which I deliver quality data. Your discussion of common cause and identifying real strategies through accurate depiction of data really got me thinking about the opportunities I have here."

"I very much enjoyed your talk on Data "Sanity", which I found to be insightful and thought provoking.  You did an amazing job at taking a topic that is intimidating to many people in healthcare and transforming it into something approachable and enjoyable by the entire audience."


Davis Balestracci is well-known nationally and internationally for his provocative, challenging, yet humorous and down-to-earth public speaking style that always makes him one of the top-rated speakers at any conference.  People appreciate his acute awareness of the barriers and daily realities faced by improvement practitioners – including the inherent frustrations of dealing with “those darn humans!”

They also appreciate the elegant simplicity of his unique practical statistical approach – more of a mindset, rather than a tool set – which neither bores nor tortures them and, most importantly, helps them solve their everyday problems.  After his seminars, many self-declared math phobes have excitedly come up to him and stated, “Wow…this actually makes sense.  I finally get it!”  Why wouldn’t they? – the only skills required are basic addition and multiplication and the abilities to (1) count to 8, (2) subtract two numbers (this is where it gets advanced – they might have to “borrow”), and (3) sort a column of numbers from smallest to largest.

Davis began his career as an internal industrial statistical consultant, most significantly with 3M, where he received several corporate awards for his innovative teaching and applications of statistical methods. After being exposed to W. Edwards Deming’s philosophy in 1983, his interests evolved to a broader application of statistics and cultural psychology to organizational transformation. Since 1992 his primary involvement has been with health care, but his approach applies to any industry, including education, government, manufacturing.

Davis has a BS degree in chemical engineering and an MS degree in statistics, yet describes himself as a “right-brained” statistician:  his Myers-Briggs profile is INFP and he is a pipe organist who done graduate work in conducting.  In 2001, he became an independent consultant, with his company name of Harmony Consulting, LLC reflecting not only his love of music, but his unique “harmonization” of left-brain (analytical) and right-brain (psychological) approaches to improvement, as well as “the passion of Beethoven composing symphonies” with which he approaches his work.  (If you haven’t already, click on the “Brain” icon in the left margin of this page.)

He has spoken at over 25 national and international forums sponsored by the prestigious Institute for Healthcare Improvement.  In 1995, at the invitation of Dr. Donald Berwick, Davis participated in a project sponsored by the Harvard Institute for International Development and was part of team that taught health care improvement methods to 80 participants from Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Morocco, and Jordan.

Davis’s book Data Sanity: A Quantum Leap to Unprecedented Results (now in its second edition, with a Foreword by Dr. Donald Berwick), is a unique synthesis of W. Edwards Deming’s teachings into an innovative, improvement-based leadership philosophy designed to transform organizations and create a culture of excellence – built-in ‘improvement’ versus the usual bolt-on ‘quality.’  He describes writing it as a true labor of love.

Davis was a 25-year member of the American Society for Quality and the 2003-2004 chair of its Statistics Division.   Since 2004, he has been a regular contributor to Quality Digest on applying statistical methods to everyday work, facilitating cultural resistance, and educating organizational culture.

He has consulted and given seminars on statistical methods and culture change domestically in 35 states and internationally in Israel, Palestine, Vietnam, Norway, Denmark, New Zealand, and Australia and, from 2003 to 2008, developed a special relationship with the national health services of England and Wales.

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