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At Safer Care Victoria we use the Model for Improvement, developed by the Associates for Process Improvement, as the framework for our improvement work. Guided by simple but effective improvement science principles, the Model for Improvement helps us deliver results-based outcomes and support improvement in healthcare.

The Model for Improvement asks you three questions to help you plan and undertake improvement work. Thoughtful, collaborative consideration of the three questions helps you deeply understand the problem or opportunity for improvement, identify high-quality change ideas, and construct an effective measurement strategy to capture learning and track progress.

The Model for Improvement also includes the plan-do-study-act or PDSA cycle as the engine for developing, testing and implementing change in your system. 

Are you ready to get started? Read our step-by-step guide to using the Model for Improvement

Breakthrough Series Collaboratives

When we bring health service teams together to work on large-scale improvement, Safer Care Victoria uses the IHI Breakthrough Series Collaborative approach. This model allows clinicians and consumers to learn from one another and topic experts as they use the Model for Improvement to design and deliver their improvement work. Healthcare workers and consumers can also learn more about undertaking effective improvement efforts, helping us to build a network of experts who can expand the work across Victoria.

Engaging patients, carers and communities in our improvement work is vital for getting better health outcomes for all Victorians. Find out more about partnering with consumers

The Breakthrough Series Collaborative process

Each project follows roughly the same steps, with our large-scale improvement efforts running for 12 to 18 months.

Setting up the project

Key stakeholders in healthcare and quality and safety improvement define the area for improvement for the project.
We establish an expert working group - subject matter experts including people with lived experience, health system leaders, clinicians and improvement specialists – to help the project team design the project. This group develops the overall aim of the project, the theory of change and the measurement strategy.

We then recruit the project team including clinicians, consumers and senior sponsors to join the improvement effort. We look for applicants who are supported, ready to work and know they have an opportunity to improve. 

Kicking off the project

Project team members meet to get an overview of the project including expectations, key milestones and an introduction to the improvement methodology to support their efforts. Using the measurement strategy developed by the expert working group, project teams gather data to understand their system’s current performance, forming a baseline to measure improvement against.

Learning sessions and action periods

In the first learning session, teams from separate organisations come together to share ideas and experiences, build clinical and improvement knowledge, learn from one another and plan changes. The team then uses the first action period to test and adapt changes learning about what changes lead to consistent, reliable practice in their local context.

Project teams take learnings from the action period to a second learning session and the cycle repeats up to three times. Teams build from testing to implementing, continuously learning from their work, connecting to foster an ‘all teach, all learn’ ethos, and working towards sustainable improvement.

When the project’s complete

The project team shares learnings through a change package and toolkit that other healthcare services can use to undertake improvement work in their own service.

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