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Quality Improvement (QI) tools

Continuous improvement is a skill requirement for all staff working across healthcare. On these pages we have listed some of the most popular Quality Improvement (QI) tools. These will help you carry out and sustain changes that enhance patient safety and patient care in your area of work.

What is Quality improvement?

Quality Improvement (QI) is not just a method or model, but more an approach to personal or organisation learning, development and improvement. Find out more about quality improvement.

Quality improvement tools

Follow the links for a description of each tool and more information about them, including some downloadable blank templates.

The ‘Five Whys’ analysis
By asking the question ‘why?’ you can peel away the layers of an issue to get to its root-cause. This is a simple diagnosis approach to help understand the root cause of a problem.

Process mapping 
Process mapping can be used to help a team visualise and understand where the problems are and identify opportunities for improvement. This tool can identify duplication, variation, and unnecessary steps.

Communication and stakeholder management
Effective communication and engagement is an essential component in helping to implement improvement. This approach will help you to understand who your important stakeholders are and how to communicate with them.

Driver diagram
Driver Diagrams offer a structured way to plan improvements from a clear aim to the ideas for improvements.

Model for Improvement/PDSA
A systematic approach to testing ideas for making improvements. This will help you identify, carry out and evaluate the changes you make.

Measurement for Improvement
These tools will help you to track a few measures over time and run a simple analysis to determine whether your changes have led to improvement.

The videos on this page offer a summary of the benefits of planning and running an evaluation for a QI project with tips on useful tools and approaches.

Spread and diffusion
Helping other people to learn from your experience helps to spread good practice to other areas. These approaches and resources will help you share your improvement journey.

The Habits of an Improver
This model shows the competencies and behaviours, or consistent habits of successful ‘improvers’.