Plan-Do-Study-Act: Fall Launch for MHVC’s PDSA Toolkit

Middletown shows what PDSAs can do.

Over the past year, MHVC and its Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) team have been meeting with and training partners on this practical problem-solving technique. Just as the PDSA cycle provides partners with a process for learning and improvement, the team has continued to learn as well while deploying PDSA training in DY1 and DY2 to MHVC partners and CBOs. “We heard that some partners didn’t know where to start,” said Iliana Garcia, MPH, Study Coordinator, of the Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, “So we decided to develop a toolkit as a guide.”

The toolkit, developed by Professor Bruce Rapkin, Ph.D., Garcia, and MHVC staff, will provide templates around key innovations. The toolkit will also include links to resources including protocols, articles and media around strategies, and training. “The templates will not be scripted and can be adapted,” said Garcia. “The point is to provide tools to understand current strategies and to set up processes. If they work, then they can be implemented.”

The templates are geared towards both clinical and community based sites and will help partners identify and test strategies to achieve specific aims. According to Beth Post, RN, Quality & Risk Management, for Middletown Community Health Center, Inc. (MCHC), “there is no better way to break barriers and reach your goals than by using PDSA.”

MCHC has been using the PDSA technique for eight years. “It is the most measurable way to get your statement through,” said Post. “You are stating the amount of change you need to see, and asking ‘Is this really going to work?’ When you have buy-in from your quality team and front-end staff, that’s when you’ll see success.”

MCHC has used PDSA for a range of projects, including internal quality, Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH), meaningful use, peer review, and Uniform Data System (UDS) reporting. “The key to all of the PDSA projects has been having a good collaboration with stakeholders,” according to Post. Stakeholders include patients, providers, support staff, the FQHC, local partners, and the Department of Health. “PDSA helps us frame the project for the stakeholders,” Post said, “But buy-in from a broad stakeholder group is essential for success.”

Partners should look for the announcement of the toolkit and technical assistance by September 2017. “We will be providing bi-monthly technical assistance to expand access to these services so more partners in the network can participate,” said Garcia. In addition, Garcia and Rapkin will hold virtual office hours. “Our goal is to help sites institutionally with quality improvement processes throughout the MHVC network.”

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