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Using implementation tools to design and conduct quality improvement projects for faster and more effective improvement.

Ovretveit J, Mittman B, Rubenstein L, Ganz DA. Using implementation tools to design and conduct quality improvement projects for faster and more effective improvement. International journal of health care quality assurance. 2017 Oct 9; 30(8):755-768.

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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to enable improvers to use recent knowledge from implementation science to carry out improvement changes more effectively. It also highlights the importance of converting research findings into practical tools and guidance for improvers so as to make research easier to apply in practice. Design/methodology/approach This study provides an illustration of how a quality improvement (QI) team project can make use of recent findings from implementation research so as to make their improvement changes more effective and sustainable. The guidance is based on a review and synthesis of improvement and implementation methods. Findings The paper illustrates how research can help a quality project team in the phases of problem definition and preparation, in design and planning, in implementation, and in sustaining and spreading a QI. Examples of the use of different ideas and methods are cited where they exist. Research limitations/implications The example is illustrative and there is little limited experimental evidence of whether using all the steps and tools in the one approach proposed do enable a quality team to be more effective. Evidence supporting individual guidance proposals is cited where it exists. Practical implications If the steps proposed and illustrated in the paper were followed, it is possible that quality projects could avoid waste by ensuring the conditions they need for success are in place, and sustain and spread improvement changes more effectively. Social implications More patients could benefit more quickly from more effective implementation of proven interventions. Originality/value The paper is the first to describe how improvement and implementation science can be combined in a tangible way that practical improvers can use in their projects. It shows how QI project teams can take advantage of recent advances in improvement and implementation science to make their work more effective and sustainable.

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