Collecting data will be an important element of your project, and here are some tools that will help you analysis the data.
Using data for improvement
To demonstrate the effectiveness of your project, data should be collected to show whether the changes being tested are resulting in improvements.
Small amounts of data can be collected regularly and complied into ‘run charts’, or ‘control charts’ to look at review the impact of a change over a period of time. For example:
Run Chart – Infection rate vs Target
Run charts or control charts focus on variation. There is an important distinction between the two:
- A run chart acts a bit like a camcorder, showing you every up and down.
- Snapshot audits are more like a camera, taking a picture of what things look like at just one point
To show that things have improved you need to show the things that have changed, and that the change is not a one off. You must consider whether the change has been sustained. Run or control charts allow you to see if this has happened.
Statistical Process Control (SPC)
This approach helps you to understand the scale of a problem, gathering information and identifying possible causes. It examines the difference between:
- Natural variation – also known as common cause variation
- Controlled variation – also known as special cause variation.
Control charts are used that display boundaries for acceptable variation in a process. The data collected over time shows whether a process is within control limits in order to detect poor or deteriorating performance and target where improvements are needed.
Hints and tips
- For more complex data collection, greater planning is needed. A copy of the PDSA form is available here.
- Watch this short video clip offering a comparison between static and dynamic displays of data:
– Whiteboard: Static vs Dynamic Data
- Watch these short video clips giving more information about run charts:
– Whiteboard: Run Chart 1
– Whiteboard: Run Chart 2
- Watch these short video clips providing a more detailed explanation about control charts:
– Whiteboard: Control Charts 1
– Whiteboard: Control Charts 2
- Read more about SPC from the former NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement
- We have tools to help you gather information, such as:
- And here is a video on how to use Pareto charts effectively:
– Whiteboard: Pareto Analysis