One common issue with healthcare quality improvement projects is lack of followup. What, how, & who will signal us when the project that the team has worked so hard on degrades over time? When will we need to perform maintenance? Control charts, applied properly, can help us know when it's time to look in on the system. Click the link beneath for more and read the full article to find a handy chart that helps you select the proper control chart for your data. (Hint: it's under "How To Choose The Right Chart".)
Control charts need to be checked on a regular schedule, but they also need to be reviewed if anything external changes the system. Remember to make it clear, before the project’s end, exactly who will look in on the chart, when they will do it, and who they should call when there’s an issue. It’s important that this be someone who lives with the new process as it will be after changes. A lot can change quickly in just a month or two. The control phase provides feedback from the system when something has gone wrong, or something needs maintenance, or the weeds need trimming. The bottom line: plan to maintain the gains you’ve made with your important quality improvement project by designing in a control phase from the beginning!