The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Model for Improvement is one strategy many healthcare organizations make use of when they wish to put a continuous quality improvement process in place. This strategy makes use of an approach that involves establishing goals and bringing a team together to witness change. Any healthcare organization looking to improve in this area should consider the strategy when trying to determine how best to achieve this goal.
Create a Team
Bring together a team to work on the process. The practice determines the size of the team and the members. Often, this includes those who handle the day-to-day tasks in different areas, as they best understand what works and where changes are needed.
Decide what is to be accomplished with this process. Each goal needs to be specific, must have a timeline in place for achieving it, and must be measurable. The process needs to take this a step further and outline how its implementation will target a specific group and which group this is.
Put Measures into Place
Once measures have been established in the previous step, they must be enacted. Each measure must make use of data that can be gathered. This differs from organization to organization.
Identify Areas of Change
Examine the data that is gathered. Where are changes needed to see improvement? Make certain to obtain input from a variety of sources and begin addressing those changes that make sense.
Test New Methods
Once a change has been planned and implemented, it must be tested. Is it providing the desired output or outcome? If not, more needs to be done. For those changes that do bring about an improvement, it needs to be determined why it was effective so the information can be utilized to improve other areas of the practice.
Large Scale Implementation
When a change has been shown to be effective through testing and implementation on a small scale, it’s time to make it practice-wide. This should only be done, however, when it has been thoroughly tested and vetted. Moving forward too soon with a change often does more harm than good.
The IHI model is only one of several. Organizations need to consider all options to find the one that best meets their needs. Only then will the desired progress be seen and an improvement in healthcare observed.