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H H S Department of Health and Human Services
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Health Information Technology and Quality
Improvement

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What are the steps to take towards QI before a system is implemented?

Before the launch of any QI activities, careful consideration must be placed on identifying the specific areas in which improvement efforts will be focused and on selecting an effective improvement measure. Once the quality measure is chosen, the organization needs to determine what would be the appropriate sources of data and ensure that the process for data collection is appropriate for the metric that has been chosen. It is important to ensure that the QI director, physician representatives, and senior leadership are involved in this process. It is also important to garner senior leadership support for the QI initiative and to engage clinicians and staff alike in planning for QI activities. Additionally, depending on the measures selected and the QI approach taken, training of staff and clinicians might be necessary. Taking these steps will contribute to ensuring a sustainable QI program.

In order to successfully implement a QI program that is integrated with health IT, the clinical system that is installed must be adequately capable of supporting quality improvement.  This will necessitate a review of existing health IT systems to determine if the purchase of a new system or functionality will be required or whether the QI program can be implemented using a pre-existing system. When conducting an assessment of QI capacity, it is important to review how information for a specific QI measure will be populated into the system (manual entry or auto-populated), what the source system will be for the information and whether the system will support reporting on the new measure.

Related Resources:

Crossing the Chasm with Information Technology: Bridging the Quality Gap in Health Care go to exit disclaimer- Institute of Medicine
Accelerating Quality Improvement through Collaboration (AQIC) go to exit disclaimer– California Healthcare Foundation

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