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How to Start Quality Improvement

quality improvement in surgery

Start your quality improvement today. These four steps show you how:

Step one: identify your problem

Why does this problem need attention? 

Think about: is your idea viable, desirable and feasible?  What problem are you trying to solve? How will you do this? How long will it take? What will it cost? Who should be involved? What can be learnt from previous projects?

Step two: plan your activity 

Explore some of the QI approaches available and choose the right one for your project. Identify the key stakeholders that you will need to involve and plan your activity with them. 

Decide on your aims, and the action you will take to achieve them. Identify your quality improvement team. Agree your costs, outputs, timelines, and milestones. Collect your baseline data demonstrating the current position, and then introduce your proposed change.

Step three: test and review your change

Collect data on the impact your change is having. Communicate regularly with your quality improvement team and key stakeholders and review your progress towards meeting your goal. Refine your approach based on your experience and any barriers you have encountered. Highlight examples of how your improvement is being achieved, and can be sustained over a period of time. 

Step four: share your successes as well as what you have learned

Once you have achieved and sustained your achievement, tell your colleagues about it! Share what you have achieved with your team, department and hospital. Look for local, regional or national events where you can tell people what you have done. Get their ideas for how your quality improvement project could be even better. 

Tell us about your project


Read the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Quality Improvement Essentials Toolkit. It includes the tools and templates you need to launch a successful quality improvement project and manage performance improvement.

Questions about quality improvement? Get in touch


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