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    Never mind your IQ. Are you focusing on QI?

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    Plan-Do-Study-Act                  

    Plan-Do-Study-Act, says Dr. Bennett, “is a tool to implement and study small changes which produces significant improvement in a system.” 

    Here are the four parts of PDSA:

    Plan — What question are you trying to answer?

    Do — What happened?

    Study — How did what happened compare with the plan?

    Act — What is the next step?

    “These ‘small tests’ can help you try out several different possible options on the course to developing a new process,” Dr. Reeder says. “A PDSA cycle is a limited trial, and the process of quality improvement involves many PDSA cycles.”

    For example, “a PDSA cycle can be as simple as placing exam gloves in a new corner of the room or testing out a new camera to take biopsy site photos,” Dr. Reeder says.

    A PDSA cycle is also limited, meaning the trial may be a success and could lead to other creative solutions. Or it could reveal unseen consequences which must also be taken into account.

     

    READ: The how, when, and why of patient surveys

    How can practices embrace QI overall?

    It’s important to understand that “real QI work” is not simply a way to follow regulations, Dr. Bennett says. “There may be some overlap between QI work and regulatory requirements, but QI must be motivated by a desire to improve patient care, lower costs, and create a fulfilling work environment.”

    In his academic center, he says, “we are using QI processes, for example, to create uniform processes to improve clinic efficiency and patient safety. In my experience, many private practices excel in these areas, but with decreasing payments and increased regulatory burden, all practices will be challenged to improve efficiency without sacrificing patient care.”

    Disclosures: Dr. Reeder and Dr. Bennett report no relevant disclosures.

     

    Randy Dotinga
    Randy Dotinga is a medical writer based in San Diego, Calif.

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