Choosing your measures

Choosing your measures

Measures (both quantitative and qualitative) are a critical part of QI. They are used to determine if a specific change leads to an improvement. Data for measures is plotted over time on what is known as a Statistical Process Control (SPC) chart. You can use the Life QI system to generate your SPC chart.

You can learn more about SPC charts through IHI Open School module QI104 or by viewing the Measures section of the IHI Website.

Three types of measures

You should use a balanced set of measures for all quality improvement projects. These are : outcomes measures, process measures, and balancing measures.

•       Outcome measures: ‘Where are we ultimately going?’
        For example; mortality rates, readmission rates, quality of life

•       Balancing measures: ‘Are the changes we are making to one part of the system causing
         problems in other parts of the system?’

         For example, patient satisfaction

•       Process measures: ‘Are we doing the right things to get our goals?’
         For example, delivery time of specific process steps

We have developed Data and Measures Guidelines for both Run Charts and Statistical Process Control (SPC) Charts to give you some simple and practical advice to deal with your data.

You may also find it helpful to watch this IHI video on the Family of Measures


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