Turning Your Knowledge Into Action


Having chosen an area of healthcare to explore in relation to sustainable QI, it is useful to spend some time thinking about and being clear on the following:

1. The Overarching goal – improving sustainable value

In SusQI, the overarching goal of healthcare improvement is to deliver maximum health gain with minimum financial cost and harmful environmental impacts, whilst adding social value at every opportunity. Acknowledging this, you will then set narrower, more specific aims for your project, designed to contribute towards reaching this overarching goal.

2. Defining the problem

Defining the problem and your goal for your project is an iterative process.  You may start with a general hunch, or perhaps an external request to tackle a particular problem. You may then move on to studying the system which may lead you to change or refine your focus. Specific, measurable goals may be best set as part of designing improvement.


What aspect of healthcare provision will you focus on (e.g. a care pathway, procedure or process step)?

Can you articulate the “problem” that you will be addressing? What environmental and/or social impact(s) will you target? Why have you chosen these?

You may find it helpful to use the following structure:

A. Background – Why are we here talking about this as a problem?

B. Problem Statement – What are we here to fix?

C. Impact – What are the issues the problem is causing for us?

D. Extent – How far does this problem extend


Be thoughtful: when thinking about a “problem” many people actually come up with causes or symptoms of the problem rather than defining the problem itself.

3. Setting Specific goals

All QI projects require clear aims. The aims should be time-specific and measurable as well as defining the specific target population of patients or staff who will be affected. Having defined the problem, set some achievable aims but return to these and refine them if needed after designing your improvement.

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