The Quality Improvement Journey

The CYPIC community is systematic in the way it tackles improvement.

Quality Improvement is defined as the application of a systematic approach that uses specific techniques to improve quality.


The Quality Improvement Journey provides a methodology that can be followed at any level – from macro (large, national approaches) to the micro (team level) - and shows the key stages you need to follow for any improvement initiative or project to be successful.

The Quality Improvement Journey, NHS Education for Scotland (NES)

Moving through each stage is really important as each stage is connected. For example, it’s hard to set good aims if you don’t understand your system. You can’t test changes and learn from others if you haven’t built the will with those you are working with. Watch the above animation for an overview, or have a look at the diagram below for a quick summary.



Applying the 6 stages of the Quality Improvement Journey

Click on the Icons below to find out more about each stage in the Quality Improvement Journey and tools to get started. Clicking on the links will take you to the NES QI Zone website.

The 3 key elements that you need throughout your Quality Improvement Journey

To find out more about Leadership and Teams for Improvement, Project Management and Communications, or Measurement for Improvement, click one of the icons below:

Leadership & TeamsMeasurementPM & Comms

Quality Improvement Tools

Looking for a specific tool to support your improvement?  Below are some links to the ones we use most often, if you can’t see what you are looking for the NES QI Zone has lots of information.

These tools will be useful at numerous points in your improvement journey.  We have added some short explanations to help you choose the right one.

Cause and Effect Diagram
Process Mapping
Pareto Chart
Project Charter
Driver Diagram
Model for Improvement
Implementation Checklist
Identify all of the likely causes and factors of the problems you’re facing. See the links between issues and move from addressing “symptoms” to understanding what is creating the issues.
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An exercise to help the whole team understand the parts and sequence of a process. Use it to build consensus, identify systematic problems and explore change ideas
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Discover the “vital few” issues to prioritise in your improvement work.
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Project Charter A project charter is the statement of scope, objectives and people who are participating in a project. This can be really helpful once you have built the will and spent time understanding your system.
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A plan on a page. A Driver Diagram helps captures a lot of improvement ideas in one place. It makes it to communicate your improvement project with colleagues.
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The Model for Improvement is a simple yet powerful tool for accelerating improvement. It is an evidence based framework that can be used to focus improvement work and ultimately, turn ideas into successful changes.
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Plan Do Study Act (PDSA) cycles are an ideal quality improvement tool that can be used to test an idea to check if it has a positive impact.
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The implementation checklist is a tool that can help you plan how you will turn ideas you are testing, into common practice. A great tool to use once you have tested and know your ideas work.
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