Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI)
What is Continuous Quality Improvement?
CQI is an approach to quality management that builds upon traditional quality assurance methods by emphasizing the organization and systems: it focuses on "process" rather than the individual; it recognizes both internal and external "customers"; it promotes the need for objective data to analyze and improve processes.
CQI is a management philosophy which contends that most things can be improved. This philosophy does not subscribe to the theory that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." At the core of CQI is serial experimentation (the scientific method) applied to everyday work to meet the needs of those we serve and improve the services we offer.
Core Concepts of CQI
- Quality is defined as meeting and/or exceeding the expectations of our customers.
- Success is achieved through meeting the needs of those we serve.
- Most problems are found in processes, not in people. CQI does not seek to blame, but rather to improve processes.
- Unintended variation in processes can lead to unwanted variation in outcomes, and therefore we seek to reduce or eliminate unwanted variation.
- It is possible to achieve continual improvement through small, incremental changes using the scientific method.
- Continuous improvement is most effective when it becomes a natural part of the way everyday work is done.
Core Steps in Continuous Improvement
- Form a team that has knowledge of the system needing improvement.
- Define a clear aim.
- Understand the needs of the people who are served by the system.
- Identify and define measures of success.
- Brainstorm potential change strategies for producing improvement.
- Plan, collect, and use data for facilitating effective decision making.
- Apply the scientific method to test and refine changes.