PDSA (Plan Do Study Act)

What is a PDSA Cycle?

A Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycle is a trial-and-learning method that allows you to quickly test and evaluate ideas for change. If you are wanting to make quality improvement changes within your organisation, it can be a really successful methodology to use, as it is tried, tested and rapid to implement. Find out how you can kick start the process, by reading our hints and tips on writing a great cycle, which can give your project a greater chance of success.

The difference between PDSA and PDCA

PDSA (Plan-Do-Study-Act) and PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) are similar methods, with the PDCA model being the pre-cursor to the PDSA model. In this article we will talk you through the key difference to the two cycles - the Check (for PDCA) and Study for (PDSA). PDSAs – as we know them today - emerged from replacing the 'Check' stage with the 'Study' stage and at the heart of the PDSA method is the quest for continuous learning.

What are the benefits of PDSA cycles?

We talk you through some of the reasons why the PDSA model can be the path towards effective improvement, including how small-scale changes can lead to continuous improvement. Other benefits can include less disruption to patients and staff, as well as cost-effectiveness.

How do I write a PDSA cycle?

It's great that you've decided to write a PDSA cycle, but how exactly do you start? We'll be looking at how you write a PDSA cycle and sharing with you how you can ease your path towards continuous improvement. 'Keep it simple' is a very effective mantra to have in mind when kicking off your PDSA project. If your change ideas are simple - and therefore easy to measure - you will have a greater chance of success.

How do I plan a PDSA cycle as a team?

This can be quite a daunting prospect, so we talk you through some hints and tips and show you how to write your PDSA as a team. Once you've succeeded in the planning stage of a PDSA cycle, you can expect the other phases to be equally as straightforward, and by working out a clear set of steps, you can make each cycle as rapid as possible. Read more about working with your team to implement continuous improvement.

Adopt, Adapt or Abandon - how do I choose?

One of the key stages of the PDSA cycle is deciding how to choose between adopting, adapting or abandoning the changes that you are testing. In this article we set out how some helpful methods to help you evaluate what you have done so far, including analysing your data and comparing it to what you predicted. This stage is absolutely crucial to the ongoing success of your quality project and is the moment when you repeat the process exactly as before, tweak or start again from scratch.

Measuring the success of your PDSA cycle

Measuring success within your PDSA is a crucial part of the process. All ideas are taken through the circular process of: planning how the test will be carried out, testing the change and collecting data, evaluating that data, and then either dropping the idea or using the information to run another cycle. If you can create a clear set of evaluation measurements, these will keep the process agile and mean that you can make each cycle as rapid as possible.

Reasons to use PDSA cycles

A PDSA allows you and your team to rapidly test out small changes and build on your successes. They can be used to run all sorts of different tests and changes, from small scale tweaks to large scale operational changes. In this article we'll be sharing with you why PDSA cycles can be so effective in the quest for continuous improvement.

10 easy ways to create great change ideas

We've identified a range of potential solutions for you and your team to generate great ideas for change for your quality improvement project. From playing the 'no limits' game, to implementing small bite size improvements; from looking at problems from a different perspective to asking people with relevant experience how they approached a problem – it's all in here!

Sequential PDSA cycles vs. Simultaneous PDSA cycles

In this piece we look at the different types of ‘Plan-Do-Study-Act’ (PDSA) cycles you can use – sequential and simultaneous – and explore the pros and cons of using each methodology. Still widely used today in order to create quality process improvements, we look at the PDSA’s roots in scientific methodology, and how it can provide a quick way for you to test out small changes and build on them - wherever you work and whatever your environment.

Use of PDSAs in healthcare

In this article we are going to take a look at how the ‘Plan-Do-Study-Act’ or PDSA cycle can be beneficial within healthcare organisations and why it is so widely used in healthcare settings. Regarded as a key method for testing change in healthcare organisations, we’re going to delve into the benefits – and disadvantages – of using PDSAs in healthcare and how they are used to drive Quality Improvement.

Tips for executing a PDSA effectively

In this blog we look at hints and tips for executing a ‘Plan-Do-Study-Act’ or PDSA cycle effectively and delve into how you can ensure that this four-step model for improvement works well for you. We look at how to align change ideas and how to choose your PDSA team wisely. We also take a look at how you choose the right data to measure and analyse your results and solutions that could help you do this.

Biggest mistakes when creating a PDSA cycle

In this piece we look at the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ of creating a Plan Do Study Act or PDSA cycle. We look at the biggest mistakes and slip ups you can encounter when creating PDSAs. We also suggest ways you can avoid these pitfalls and what you should do when you are planning on spreading improvement across your organisation.