Developing your team's aim
- Broadly defining the area for improvement
When commencing improvement work, it is essential to define the area for improvement in broad terms. Examples of areas for improvement that MHAIST collaborative teams focused on include:
- improving the process of telephone signposting (PDF)
- decreasing the number of patients who did not attend appointments (DNAs) (PDF), and
- improving staff training and clinical supervision (PDF).
Data and evidence can also inform improvement ideas. For example, the Greater Glasgow and Clyde OPTIMAL Team chose to focus on increasing referrals of older people (PDF) to Psychological Therapy services after reviewing board-level data and academic papers.
When choosing an area for improvement, consider what information you already have about your service. Are clinical guidelines or quality standards available for your piece of work?
Examples of information/data that collaborative teams found helpful include:
- feedback from service users
- local waiting times data
- national waiting times data, and
- case studies from other services.
- Developing a specific aim
Once your team has agreed on a broad area for improvement, developing a specific aim is crucial.
Example aims from the collaborative teams include:
"Aim: To reduce the DNA rate for new appointments in the Clinical Health Psychology Service to less than 15% by the 31st of July 2019" NHS Lanarkshire Clinical Health Psychology team (PDF)
"Aim: All children with non-complex presentations will be assessed and diagnosed within 12 weeks of referral by the end of December 2019" NHS Dumfries and Galloway Neurodevelopmental Project team (PDF)
It is key that any aim you set is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-framed (SMART) in order to determine whether a change results in an improvement. Also consider whether your aim is aligned with the priorities of your service users, staff, team and organisation.