One of the obstacles to driving needed change is fear of failure. And the greater the needed change, the more resources are likely to be committed to what is seen as a potential failure. An approach focused on smaller changes has allowed continual quality improvement (CQI) to take hold in healthcare and public health agencies partnering with CPHI, including the Regional Genetic Networks.
“The beauty of small tests of change is that it allows for innovation because failure is on a small scale with minimal resources,” said CPHI Senior Research Scientist Yvonne Kellar-Guenther. “Having worked on grant projects for many years, one complaint you hear is that communities are tired of grantees coming in and making big changes that go away when the funding goes away. Small tests of change allow for the community to find a solution that works for them that can be sustained.”
Despite the fact we seek small change, our preference is to work in a “long-term” approach. We offer training but we also meet with teams one-on-one to coach and help them overcome barriers and find true small tests of change. We help teams identify the measure they will use to determine if the change is working and look at their data with them to help them focus on the trends rather than focusing on the movement from week to week. This approach of combining coaching with training and targeting small change tends to ensure both the training and the innovation the agency seeks are more likely to “stick.”
“Many of us get training and think everything is clear but then we go to apply what we learn, we get stuck,” Kellar-Guenther said. Combining training with coaching enhances the training because the education can be customized.
At CPHI we value the opportunity to work with teams long enough so that CQI is practiced and truly understood, bringing small changes that add up to something large and lasting for America’s communities.
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