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Large-Scale Improvement Initiatives in Healthcare: A Scan of the Literature

Perla, Rocco J.; Bradbury, Elizabeth; Gunther-Murphy, Christina

The Journal for Healthcare Quality (JHQ): February 2013 - Volume 35 - Issue 1 - p 30–40
doi: 10.1111/j.1945-1474.2011.00164.x
Feature Article

Context: The goal of this article is to provide a succinct scan of the literature as it relates to the current thinking and practice in large-scale improvement initiatives in healthcare.

Method: We employed a scan of the literature using a modified Delphi technique. A standard review form was used. The scan was limited to large-scale spread efforts in hospitals and healthcare systems. Each of the main factors that emerged during the scan was linked to secondary factors and organized using a driver diagram.

Findings: Four primary drivers (factors) emerged during our scan that inform large-scale change initiatives in healthcare: Planning and Infrastructure; Individual, Group, Organizational, and System Factors; The Process of Change; and Performance Measures and Evaluation.

Conclusion: Our scan identified a tremendous amount of work being done around the world to improve healthcare. In general, our findings suggest these initiatives tend to be fragmented from an implementation standpoint. We identified primary and secondary drivers (factors) that can be used by those responsible for implementing large-scale improvement initiatives both at a strategy level and in their daily work. These drivers could serve as a “checklist” of ideas to consider in different testing and implementation situations.

For more information on this article, contact Rocco J. Perla

Rocco J. Perla, EdD, is Director of Analytics for UMass Memorial Health Care and Assistant Professor in the Departments of Quantitative Health Sciences and Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He was a 2008-2009 George W. Merck Fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

Elizabeth Bradbury, MSc, is Director of the Advancing Quality Alliance, UK. She has led national and regional improvement campaigns in England and acted as advisor to two large-scale quality initiatives in Scotland. She was a Health Foundation Quality Improvement Fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in 2009–2010.

Christina Gunther-Murphy is Director of Hospital Portfolio Operations at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. She was the Manager of the 5 Million Lives Campaign and has acted as an advisor for a number of other large-scale change programs in the US and internationally.

© 2013 National Association for Healthcare Quality
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