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How to Sustain Quality Improvement

quality improvement in surgery

Improving quality in healthcare is not easy. It needs energy and stamina to sustain positive change. Read our top quality improvement (QI) tips to keep you going.

QI tip 1: Start as you mean to go on

Agree the problem to be solved as a team - don’t rely on one person’s ideas and energy to sustain your work. A properly engaged team that has signed up to an improvement goal will have a better chance of sustained success than one “hero”.

QI tip 2: Plan your project, but not too much

While it is important to get your team properly engaged, you also need to show them the impact they can have. Get your project going. Implement a change. Test its impact. Share your results. Repeat the exercise and build your data. Refine as you go.

QI tip 3: Start small to win big

Don’t try to change too much too quickly. Focus on well thought through and designed improvement aims and seek to achieve them one at a time. You will be amazed at how much you can achieve by building your momentum one-step at a time.

QI tip 4: Find some champions as well as some critical friends

Use your enthusiasts and advocates to spread the word and show people the improvements you are introducing. If people react negatively, try to understand why and use their perspectives to refine your approach.

QI tip 5: Focus people on the benefits your projects will bring

Help them recognise that achieving significant change isn’t easy and won’t happen overnight. If people can see how your work will make their life easier, and improve care for patients, they are more likely to engage.

QI tip 6: Celebrate your wins

Once you have something to shout about, make sure people hear about it! Publicize your successes and get people excited about what you have done. Recognise those who have helped achieve your success.

QI tip 7: Get inspiration from others

However innovative your idea is it is possible that someone, somewhere in healthcare has done something similar before. Do not be afraid to seek their help and use what worked for them, and learn from what didn’t work, to help you to achieve your aim.

QI tip 8: Don't fear failure

There is nothing wrong if you don’t achieve great results first time. Improvement takes time and may require a number of cycles of trial and error. The key is learn from what does not go well and use this to inform your next try. Keep going and you will get there!

Questions about quality improvement? Get in touch

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