Achieving your quality improvement goals will almost certainly require that substantial changes be made to whichever process you target. Although you may think that you understand the gaps between your current process and the best practice, formally mapping the process will almost certainly reveal gaps that would otherwise be overlooked. It will also provide your team with a better understanding of the process in general.
Process mapping consists of writing down everything that happens in a given process. The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) and the American Society for Quality Web sites provide more in-depth information about process mapping. Often, the major steps of the process are defined first, and then each step is analyzed in detail (see Sample Process Flow Maps.) In some cases, the major steps in a process can be accurately defined by a single individual (such as the team leader.) However, usually no individual is able to complete a detailed analysis of all the steps. This highlights the importance of the multidisciplinary team in completing this exercise.
Once the process is mapped, the gaps between the current process and the best practice will become apparent. The members of the team with the most detailed understanding of the best practice will be able to recognize the gaps and highlight them for the team. The assessment questions, presented earlier in this section, can also help team members recognize the gaps.
Ideally, this process will leave the team with a list of gaps that need to be addressed in order to achieve the team's goals, and this list will be used to create interventions.
If you need additional support in leading a quality improvement effort, SHM’s signature programs can guide your team through each phase and provide individual mentoring in areas such as care transitions (Project BOOST®), Glycemic Control (GC), Medication Reconciliation (MARQUIS), Atrial Fibrillation (AFIB) and Venous Thromboembolism (VTE). We also provide resources by clinical topic to help you find exactly what you need.
No matter where you are in the spectrum, SHM can assist you in your efforts. SHM encourages you to join the QI community and view the calendar for up to date information on key events and discussions around the quality and innovation movement.
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