Improvement Methods

Model for Improvement

The model for improvement is one of the most popular Quality Improvement (QI) models in use in healthcare settings today and is a tried and tested method. In this blog, we drill down into the detail and find out how the model for improvement actually works and the thinking behind it. If you are thinking about using the model for improvement within your QI team, this is the blog for you!

Lean Methodology

In this article we look at the Lean quality management system, from its origins in the Toyota Production System in the 1950s to its widespread adoption in the 1990s. We look at the aims of Lean: to improve flow and remove waste from systems and processes and look in detail about how Lean is driven by customer needs and adds value for the customer.

Six Sigma

In the last article, we looked at Lean quality management system – in this blog, we will focus on Six Sigma - a problem solving approach which is used to describe an ‘expected level of design margin and product quality.’ This systematic approach to improvement focuses on reducing variance and eliminating defects and at its heart is the belief that in order to improve processes, you should involve people who are already doing the job.

Total Quality Management (TQM)

In this article we are going to look at Total Quality Management - or TQM - a quality management approach often used in Quality Improvement (QI). With a strong focus on producing quality products and services in order to fulfil customer needs, TQM is an effective system which makes the customer the heart and focus of the process and can enable genuine customer satisfaction.

Kaizen (Continuous Improvement)

In this article we are going to be looking at Kaizen - a systematic approach for continuous improvement in business and healthcare, which was created by Masaaki Imai. We find out more about Kaizen as the basis of Lean methodology, and find out more about its core focus on using quick cycles of learning – such as the PDSA (Plan, Do, Study Act) cycle. We also explore the various principles and techniques involved in this continuous improvement methodology.

Clinical microsystems

Described as a ‘small, interdependent group of people who work together regularly to provide care for specific groups of patients,’ the clinical microsystem is a Quality Improvement (QI) approach and in this piece we take a look at what they are, what they consist of, what they do and their value to healthcare, and - more specifically - their value within Quality Improvement (QI).

Experience based co-design

We take a look at experience based co-design, a Quality Improvement methodology which encourages working collaboratively with patients and families to support services and solutions in becoming more patient-centred. We take a look at the excellent Kings Fund 'experience based co-design toolkit' and drill down into the detail of the methodology which promises both success and intense rewards by putting the patient or service user at the heart of the project.

Virginia Mason Production System (VMPS)

IIn this blog, we find out more about the Virginia Mason Production System (VMPS) and its influence on Quality Improvement (QI) across the globe. This lean management methodology, which was created by the Virginia Mason Institute, aims to provide the ‘perfect patient experience’ while helping healthcare organisations support continuous improvement.

Which improvement method should I use for my project?

We’ve been looking at a wide range of improvement methods in this series of blogs, and whether you have already decided which method you might use or if you've identified something in your department that is either inefficient, or not quite right - we hope this blog will help you choose the right Quality Improvement (QI) methodology for you. We take a look at the common improvement methods, Model for Improvement, Lean and Six Sigma and how you can work towards a ‘culture of continuous improvement’.

Research, Audit and QI - What's the difference?

In this blog we look at research, audit and Quality Improvement (QI) and how these methodologies work within the quality space. We find out more about which areas of research and audit can help with and support your QI projects, how exactly they work and when it’s best to use QI or use it in conjunction with other methods - such as audit or research - to deliver better care and outcomes for patients.