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How to Choose a Quality Improvement (QI) Project

One of the first, and most important, steps in any quality improvement (QI) process is to pick a project! There are lots of criteria we can apply when considering what we’d like to improve. In this short blog post we are going to ask some key questions to help you ensure your project is anchored in something that matters in a meaningful way to how your practice system is functioning and how you can make it better.

1) How are you monitoring systems-performance?

Adverse event reporting systems such as VetSafe, from the Veterinary Defence Society, are a great way of turning incidents and adverse events into opportunities for growth and improvement, not blame and shame. They can be great way for teams to generate QI project ideas.

2) Will it make a difference?

If you have an idea to improve something in your practice, what difference could it make once implemented? This question inevitably leads to more questions…. Make a difference to whom? Your patients? Your clients? Your team? You’ll need to balance these projected results with how possible it is. What’s possible will depend on the time, resource and experience you have.

3) Are you focusing on the positives or negatives?

One thing that’s really important is that quality improvement projects don’t inadvertently become associated with negative feelings, thoughts and discussions. This can be the case if we look primarily at things that have gone ‘wrong’ for our inspiration. Identifying a problem and working on solutions to that problem can sap energy and motivation from the people involved.

Start by looking at what is already working! How good could it be? How good should it be? How does it work? People like to talk about their successes and will engage in discussions that focus on what works. 

4) Who is involved?

It’s not just down to the person leading quality improvement to be part of change. Everyone has a role to play. Involving lots of people in those early conversations and understanding what matters to them encourages participation in being part of the change and brings the whole team on the journey together.

Remember, change is a collective effort, and the journey towards improvement involves your entire team. As you contemplate changes in your practice, we encourage you to share your ideas. What improvements do you envision?

Support from VDS Training

Do you have an idea for a quality improvement project in your practice? If you're looking for guidance, our VetImprove Programme, starting Wednesday 7 February 2024, offers a comprehensive four-step coaching-based approach to help you identify, plan, implement, and sustain positive changes in your veterinary practice. Take the first step towards transformative improvements in your practice today! For more information visit the course page, email, or call +44 (0) 1565 743862.

About VDS Training
VDS Training are passionate about developing all members of the veterinary team, to help you overcome the personal and professional challenges you face on a daily basis, and to build practical skills and techniques to make a real difference to you and your life.