Quality in Primary Care Open Access

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Understanding processes and how to improve them

A Niroshan Siriwardena, Steve Gillam

This is the second in a series of articles about the science of quality improvement. Many quality improvement initiatives are aimed at improving the process of care and ensuring that high-quality care is delivered reliably. In this article, we explain why it is important to understand healthcare processes in order to improve them and how this can be achieved. We explain the use of logic models todetermine what information to collect (from surveys, interviews, direct observations and other sources) and how to analyse this information (using techniques such as process maps, critical-to-quality trees, driver diagrams and cause-and-effect diagrams)to design more reliable and higher quality healthcare processes.