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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Health Resources and Services Administration
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Quality Improvement

Part 1: Quality Improvement (QI) and the Importance of QI

Part 2: Before Beginning - Establish an Organizational Foundation for QI

Part 3: QI Programs - The Improvement Journey

Part 4: Supporting the QI Program - Keep the Momentum Going

Part 5: References

Part 6: Additional Resources

Part 4: Supporting the QI Program - Keep the Momentum Going 

It can be challenging for an organization to implement changes and sustain improvement, plus people within an organization make and adapt to changes at different rates. The key for pacing change is to strike a balance between what is needed to move forward to timely achieve a goal with the organization's comfort level for change. A successful QI team frequently communicates its changes, challenges, and progress with all of its stakeholders affected by the improvement process. Informal communication is also effective, but formal communication in staff meetings, business meetings, newsletters, and other venues is critical during the improvement process.

How Is Performance Tracked Over Time?

Overall, an organization's goal is to improve care delivery and improve patient outcomes. As complex systems underpin the clinical care change, it is important to ensure an organization's performance is improving toward Managing Data for Performance Improvement its goal. Performance is generally tracked on a monthly, or at minimum, a quarterly basis. A graphic depiction of performance over time assists an organization to know that its efforts are resulting in improved performance. Examples of data displays used by other organizations can be found in the Managing Data for Performance Improvement module. 

Celebrating Success

QI focuses on improvement and involves both prospective and retrospective reviews; i.e., measuring where an organization is currently, then identifying opportunities to improve. A QI program is not intended for attributing blame, but rather for creating systems that prevent errors and improve health outcomes. QI activities are designed to improve how things work. While the process of finding where the system can be refined or new ways to do things can be challenging, the process can also be fun. QI activities provide an organization with opportunities to "think outside the box" and promote creativity and innovation.

Celebrating an organization's success as it moves through the QI program is also very important. A celebration acknowledges that something positive occurred. Often when involved in a QI program, a team feels it is accomplishing little. Celebrating each success helps to overcome that feeling. QI is challenging work, and a celebration breaks the routine and sparks creativity. Accomplishments are easier to remember when marked with celebrations. Taking the time to commemorate a team's achievements also makes it easier to recollect them when it is time to list those accomplishments, such as, in a grant or proposal.

A more advanced discussion of QI methods, models, and techniques, including tools and resources to support an organization's implementation of QI activities, can be found throughout the modules in this toolkit.

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