COVID-19 Reported Deaths: Using Shewhart Control Charts to Understand Variation
IHI and our colleagues have developed a data dashboard depicting reported deaths from COVID-19 globally using Shewhart control charts.
For each country, and for each state and territory in the United States, the Shewhart control charts model the trajectory of COVID-19 reported deaths to help detect when the pandemic is entering a rapid growth phase and when exponential growth is ending. Data in the dashboard is updated daily.
Because the Shewhart control chart method and theory are designed to distinguish between random and non-random variation, they are ideally suited to help decision makers understand if the reported number of daily deaths is stable (i.e., random variation) or unstable (i.e., non-random variation).
The dashboard illustrates the power of using Shewhart control charts, a cornerstone of improvement methods, in a practical and accessible way to inform decision making.
To have an accurate and complete picture of the impact of COVID-19, mortality and infection data stratified by race, ethnicity, and language is a necessity. Communities of color and other marginalized populations are bearing a disproportionate burden of disease.
Data that show inequities call us to address access, quality, policies, and practices that contribute to the disparate impact and outcomes.
We hope that the dashboard and this analysis is useful to subject matter experts, decision makers, care providers, and the general public.
- Learn more about the
data dashboard methodology.
Scroll Up/Down on Page: Use the gray vertical scroll bar on the far right to scroll up and down on a particular page.
View Full Screen: Use the Full Screen mode (click arrow icon, bottom right) to see the dashboard in a full browser window.
Global Data Dashboard: COVID-19 Reported Deaths by Country
Select Country: On the far left of the dashboard, click the circle to the left of the country name. (Use Full Screen mode to view larger.)
United States Data Dashboard: COVID-19 Reported Deaths by US State and Territory
Scroll Through Pages: Use the left/right arrows in the gray area at the bottom of the dashboard to scroll through pages.
(Or click on the numbered page range to jump to a specific page.)
Create a Customized Control Chart
COVID-19 Control Chart Application to create a customized control chart with your own local data.
Or access the code on the GitHub website that is used to develop the IHI Data Dashboard control charts.
The dashboard uses COVID-19 data from the
New York Times GitHub site and from the
Our World in Data site.
Dashboard Development Team
Lloyd Provost, Principal Statistician, Associates in Process Improvement
Shannon Provost, Lecturer, The University of Texas at Austin
Rocco Perla, Co-Founder, The Health Initiative
Kevin Little, Improvement Advisor, Informing Ecological Design, LLC
Gareth Parry, Senior Scientist, Institute for Healthcare Improvement
How to Cite This Content: COVID-19 Data Dashboard. COVID-19 Reported Deaths: Using Shewhart Control Charts to Understand Variation. Boston: Institute for Healthcare Improvement; 2020. (Available on
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