How to start a QI project

Anyone can get involved in a QI project. To get you started you need an idea, the will (a small team to help you achieve your aim) and the execution (your plan to do it).

Step 1: Think of a quality improvement you'd like to make in your team

A Quality Improvement (QI) project doesn't need to be complicated. It can be very simple. A QI project is based on iterative change, continuous testing and measurement, and empowerment of frontline teams.

For example an Older Adult's Unit carried out a project replacing cups with mugs. This not only helped increase fluid intake but was reported to be more comfortable by the patients. You can find more examples on Life QI.

A QI project is defined as a project that uses a systematic approach and specific techniques to improve quality. The approach we are taking in CNWL is to adopt the Model for Improvement.

Before starting your QI project it is recommended you watch this QI in Healthcare video from IHI:

Anyone can get involved in a QI project. To get you started you need an idea, the will (a small team to help you achieve your aim) and the execution (your plan to do it).

Step 2: Think of your improvement goal

Think of your improvement goal – your aim

Step 3: Speak to your colleagues and start to form your QI Project Team.

Speak to your colleagues and start to form your QI Project Team.

Your QI project team should include your colleagues and always include service user involvement. This may be in the form of a service user on your project team or by including patient and carer feedback.

When we talk about service user involvement in QI, we refer to little i and Big I.

Involvement with a little i means asking the people who use your service for ideas, what needs improving, have they noticed the improvements. This can be done through a survey, focus groups etc. It is a periodic partnership.

Involvement with a Big I means involving service users and carers directly in your project and QI development and delivery. It is a full and continuous partnership.  

It is recommended you always consider little i and Big I when developing your project.

Little i and Big I on Life QI
You can mark the level of Service User Involvement in your project on the projects screen on Life QI. 
 

Step 4: Discuss your idea and consider the checklist for success

Discuss your idea with your Divisional QI Lead or you can log your project on Life QI and they will get in touch with you.


Checklist for success

Not all good ideas become projects and not all good projects deliver improvement. However, with good planning, the right support and teamwork your chances of success will improve significantly. We have compiled a checklist for you to run through so, like a comprehensive shopping list, will ensure you have everything in place at the start to avoid disappointment at a later stage.

The right project?

  • Does everyone in the project believe this is the right project to do?
  • Does everyone in the project think having an improvement is important?
  • Do you have a sponsor for the project who can help overcome barriers?

The right team?

  • Do you have someone on the team experienced in QI?
  • Do you have a patient and carer at the heart of the project?
  • Do you have team members at each stage of the process involved?
  • Do your team members know each other and agree on the aim?
  • Have the team had QI training? (for information on training see our training page


The right support?

  • Do your team members have allocated time to deliver this project
  • Do you have a sponsor for the project who can help overcome barriers?
  • Is the project aligned with strategic goals
    • Workforce improvement
    • Improving clinical effectiveness of our services
    • Improving access
    • Improving patient and carer experience
    • Improving patient safety
  • Have barriers been considered?
  • Will there be external agencies affected by the project?
  • Is there likely to be financial support required?
  • If staff at various sites, will you have access to regular meetings be able to take place eg teleconference facilities
  • Will you need support with data? (if you do then discuss with QI team for options to reduce data heavy projects)

Step 5: Look at Life QI for other QI projects happening in the Trust

Look at Life QI for other QI projects happening in the Trust or one that may be similar to yours from another organisation that you can learn from.

If you are not registered on Life QI, you can register by entering your email address into the sign up field on the Life QI website.

Step 6: Get started and good luck!

Get started and good luck!

If you have any questions or need any support please get in touch with us.

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