Gettng Specific About our Improvement Expectations

July 20, 2010 at 8:49 pm Leave a comment

We are nearing the end of this descriptive series looking at a systematic, sustainable, repeatable approach to performance improvement. In this posting we really start getting specific about what we will be doing to effect a performance change.

Desired Performance

Now we are getting to the part many of us in CME like. We are almost ready to implement some interventions that we hope will reduce a performance gap. Where do we start? We start by describing what we want the new performance to look like. Similar to describing the current condition we addressed in an earlier part of this series, the desired or target condition should illustrate how the proposed process will work with the countermeasures (interventions) have been made and the new processes are in place. A process diagram will work well here.

Earlier in the improvement process you set a goal. You know where you want to get. Remember when we paraphrased the saying that “every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets” Now is the time to change the system. Only when we change a system can we expect to get different results from our work in the system. Have the team meet and brainstorm the new process. Get everybody who will be affected by the new process engaged and to agree what the new process will be, how it will work, and agree that the change required to get there is acceptable to each of them.

You want to describe the desired process before you select countermeasures. It will force you to think carefully about what root causes you will address, with what countermeasures you can take that will change the system in the direction you want it changed.


Now it is time to choose what you are going to do to make the world a better place. Each countermeasure (intervention) you select should address a specific root cause of the problem. It is no time for pet solutions. It is no time to take a short cut in determining what you will change. Select the root causes you will address and be very sure the countermeasures you will implement have a high probability of reducing or eliminating a root cause of your problem. The countermeasure(s) should lead to new ways of getting work done. What is going to be done differently than it is being done now? Be very clear. Be very specific. Part of being clear and specific is listing the each countermeasure that will address a root cause selected for special attention. Once again, have the team meet and brainstorm the interventions they think will lead to the desired results. Get everybody engaged and to agree with what the interventions will be, how they will work, and agree that the work required to engage in the interventions is acceptable to each of them.

Now choose what you are going to do to address the problem.

Desired Outcomes

You have set a course of improvement in your organization. You know where you want to get. The expected improvement should be predicted specifically and quantitatively and made public. The team needs to know the measure of success as well as how and when that measurement will be made. No generalities here.

If we have done our work to this point we have buy in from everybody that has to be engaged to make the improvement happen. They want the improvement to be successful. No secrets. No hidden agendas. Improvement is about processes and not people. Focus on how the outcomes of the new process will be measured. If measures of individual performance need to be made, be clear on the measure of their performance.


Entry filed under: CME, CME Issues, Continuing Medical Education, Improvement, PI CME. Tags: , , , , , .

As pharma funding for CME goes down attendance at non-accredited industry offerings goes up Pharma Funding for CME? Why Bother?

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