Emergency medicine (EM) providers work in a fast-paced and often hectic environment that has a high risk for patient safety incidents and gaps in the quality of care. These challenges have resulted in opportunities for frontline EM providers to play a role in quality improvement (QI) projects. QI has developed into a mature field with methodologies that can dramatically improve the odds of having a successful project with a sustainable impact. However, this expertise is not yet commonly taught during professional training. In this first of three articles meant as a QI primer for EM clinicians, we will introduce QI methodology and strategic planning using a fictional case study as an example. We will review how to identify a QI problem, define components of an effective problem statement, and identify stakeholders and core change team members. We will also describe three techniques used to perform root cause analyses� Ishikawa diagrams, Pareto charts and process mapping�and how they relate to preparing for a QI project. The next two papers in this series will focus on the execution of the QI project itself using rapid-cycle testing and on the evaluation and sustainability of QI projects.
Lucas Chartier - firstname.lastname@example.org