In the quality community, sometimes it can feel like we’ve been using the same methods since 1911 - when Frederick Taylor first introduced the principles of scientific management. PDSA (Plan-Do-Study-Act) is one of these methods, best suited for individuals or small teams working on small to medium-sized continuous improvements.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) provides a worksheet to help guide PDSA improvement activities. It describes the phases like this:
Plan - What do you plan to do? What results do you hope to see? What are the steps required to carry out this plan?
Do - After implementing the plan, what did you observe? Did everything go well, or did you have to adjust the plan?
Study - Did you meet the targets you identified in the Plan stage? Why or why not? What lessons did you learn about the improvement activity?
Act - What did you conclude? Should you commit to the improvement? If so, educate your workforce and update procedures and work instructions.
Add a modern twist to PDSA to substantially increase the impact of your improvements: eXport key insights and lessons learned! Share your work in online communities with other EHSQ professionals, publish columns or articles in professional journals, or even just capture your insights on a blog.
Your experiences are valuable -- and if you export your lessons learned, you’ll help someone in the future who’s going down a similar improvement path.
AHRQ (n.d.). Health Literacy Universal Precautions Toolkit, 2nd Edition.[Text Wrapping Break]Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) Directions and Examples. Available from https://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/quality-patient-safety/quality-resources/tools/literacy-toolkit/healthlittoolkit2-tool2b.html
Radziwill, N. M. (2013). Tell Me About It: Export Lessons Learned to Spark Innovation. Quality Progress, 46(10), p. 34. Available from http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/ASQM/ASQM0116/index.php?startid=34#/36
Nicole Radziwill is the Quality Practice Lead at Intelex Tecnologies Inc. You can follow her on LinkedIn by clicking HERE.