The focus of PDSA is experimentation—such as testing out new change ideas to see if you can get better results.
• PDSA offers a disciplined model for testing improvements based on four steps: plan, do, study, act. All too often ideas for change are acted on without detailed planning and organization. There is a saying, "The devil is in the details." The discipline of PDSA will help you think through and plan for the "devilish" details of the idea you wish to test. Using this approach will increase your chances of successfully and rapidly reaching your aim.
• PDSA calls for small-scale testing and focuses attention on the theme and aims of improvement. It can lead to early, measured successes and increased staff enthusiasm.
• PDSA can be completed quickly, with minimal expenditure of resources and without taking great risks or using large amounts of time.
• PDSA invites clarity about who does what, when, and with what materials and supplies to ensure that those involved in the test are clear on roles and functions.
• PDSA makes it clear to all involved in the microsystem that the test is a pilot; to be conducted in a small way over a short period of time. This often diminishes anxiety and resistance to trying out a change idea. Once everyone in the microsystem realizes that the test will inform future activities and improvements, many people will support the test and be interested in the findings.
• PDSA helps staff gain new knowledge and fresh experience. This enables the lead improvement team to improve on the original change idea and thereby increase the likelihood of success.
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