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Table 1 Southern Adelaide Local Health Network’s 8 Step Problem Solving Process in their Continuous Improvement Framework

From: How to sustainably build capacity in quality improvement within a healthcare organisation: a deep-dive, focused qualitative analysis

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Planning Diagnostic Phase Intervention Phase Assess Impact Continuous Improvement
Define the Problem Breakdown the Problem Set a Target/ Mission Statement Cause Analysis Interventions Implementation Evaluate/Assess Impact Continuous Improvement
Define the gap between current and expected performance.
Identify stakeholders.
What is the evidence there is a problem?
Thoroughly explore and understand the current state.
Using data, process mapping and observation, break down and clarify the problem.
What is the evidence now that there is a problem?
Using the breakdown from step 2, refine the problem statement.
Set SMART targets for the improvement:
Specific
Measureable
Appropriate
Realistic
Time-bound
In cross functional teams, explore all possible contributing causes to the problem.
Identify the root causes of the contributing causes by asking “why, why, why,…?”
Identify and assess all possible interventions for each cause.
Conduct small trials. PDSA (Plan-Do-Study-Act) cycles
Develop an implementation plan in consultation with affected areas.
Implement the plan in a controlled manner.
Ensure appropriate controls are in place to support staff in the affected areas.
Monitor the results to assess the effectiveness of the interventions.
If ineffective, understand why and adjust the interventions as appropriate.
Once proven effective, standardise for the new process.
Ensure the process is monitored so it can be continuously improved.
Consider where else the learnings from this could be applied (other wards, units, campuses, etc.)
  1. References: Steps of Problem solving. St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne. S Craig/C Cummins 2018
  2. SA Health. Improving Care Methodology: Supporting Practice and Process Redesign