Evidence Based Quality Improvement can be hard. Hard to know where to begin. Hard to develop an organizational infrastructure of scientists and resources needed to design, test and evaluate evidence based improvements. And hard to get leadership buy - in. I know, I've been there.
But even if your organization is small with limited resources, it doesn't mean you should give up on implementing evidence based quality improvements. It means you should get strategic about learning from the evidence based quality improvement efforts of others. And there's a powerful resource available free and online that you may have overlooked. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, or AHRQ, hosts a website full of videos, podcasts, and printed guides in addition to a searchable database of quality improvement innovations and tools that have been tested by other organizations. There's even some detailed background instruction to get you thinking about how to approach quality improvement in a systematic and scientific way - I highly recommend you start with Will It Work Here? A Decisionmaker's Guide to Adopting Innovations
This extensive guide will help you and your organization choose quality improvement initiatives that have the best chance of success in your organization - maximizing your resources and reducing false starts and wasted efforts. If you spend a little time up front choosing wisely where to engage your staff time and money, you'll get better results and a staff more committed to improvement.
After the guide (and maybe after reading some other fundamental articles on innovation and problem solving), you may want to check out some of the videos to inspire you. Perhaps you'll start with the award winning series on Frontline Innovators Making a Difference. Or spend some time checking out the other videos and guides.
Once you've gained some knowledge and comfort about how to identify quality improvement activities important to your organization, it's time to search the 777 innovations or 1527 quality tools in the AHRQ Innovations Exchange database. But this is more than just a collection of what others are doing. Quality improvement innovations for health care service delivery and policy must meet minimum eligibility criteria to be listed, including some evidence for effectiveness. A quality improvement innovation without some support linking the activity and desired health care outcomes is not eligible for listing in the Innovations Exchange - another time saver for you. The innovations are case-studies of successful and attempted innovations with summaries of key results along with the evidence ratings.
This website is packed full of information you can use right now to improve the quality of your quality improvement efforts. During your first visit, don't forget to sign up for upcoming webinars or to sign up for email updates. It's an active site, so you'll want to bookmark and check back often.
TheEvidenceDoc full disclosure = I get no funding from AHRQ and do not serve on any AHRQ panels. But I'm a big user of their free resources. Why re-create the wheel?