Webinar Notes: Making Data Matter: Measurement Basics for Quality Improvement

The Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement (CFHI) is offering three webinars on Measurement for Quality Improvement. These are my notes from the first webinar: Measurement Basics for Quality Improvement (which was held on Oct 22, 2014, but which I realize I haven’t posted until now!)

  • data helps guide decision making and helps us know where to focus time, attention, and resources
  • wherever possible, collect data as part of existing processes
  • you can collect small samples of data in real time and validate against later data set later on
  • in improvement projects, we typically aren’t asking about “statistical significance”, but rather we want to know if the data changes over time

Run Charts
run chart

  • data displayed with time on x-axis
  • can measure process measures or outcome measures
  • collected weekly or monthly and plotted as you get it
  • centre line = median or baseline
  • recalculate the median once you see a trend or shift
  • helps you see:
    • baseline
    • how results are changing over time
    • when you reach a target
    • in you sustain that target over time
    • natural fluctuations
  • if you only measured pre vs. post, you can end up finding “statistically significant” results when they might just be different due to fluctuations

run chart - vs pre-post

  • analyzing run charts:
    • evidence of a trend: 5+ consecutive points going in the same direction (up or down)

evidence of a trend

  • evidence of a shift: 5+ consecutive points on one side of the median (either above or below); less than 5% chance of seeing this if there isn’t really something going on

evidence of a shift

  • can compare process and outcomes (e.g., number of people attending a diabetes education program with number of patients with controlled blood glucose) – can help explain things going on with the outcome

Resources:

  • IHI’s Run Chart Tool
  • You can also do these in Excel – there’s even a built in template
  • The run chart: a simple analytical tool for learning from variation in healthcare processes. BMJ Quality & Safety 20(1), 46-51. (requires a subscription)

You can view a recording of this session ($69 for one session or $250 for all 3) on the CFHI website. 1Disclosure: I have received a grant from the the CFHI in the past and am currently an “Improvement Coach” on one of their projects. I don’t receive anything for blogging about their workshop – I’ve just found them useful and wanted to share what I’m learning and I wanted to be transparent that I’ve received funding from them for projects.

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. Disclosure: I have received a grant from the the CFHI in the past and am currently an “Improvement Coach” on one of their projects. I don’t receive anything for blogging about their workshop – I’ve just found them useful and wanted to share what I’m learning and I wanted to be transparent that I’ve received funding from them for projects.
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