Like most health systems, you are more than likely missing an essential focus in your Healthcare Quality Improvement efforts. So much emphasis is placed on problems which are assumed to be crucial barriers to daily operations, and just as much emphasis is put on applying a traditional, linear, one-size-fits-all project management approach to solving those unconfirmed problems. This common phenomenon can end up wasting valuable time and resources. Projects can be started and finished without ever confirming that the correct problem was being addressed in the first place, or without a change leader taking real ownership of the process. Change leaders, or “change agents,” are people who can recognize opportunities for change and know how to effectively implement solutions. Without a healthy culture that is receptive to change and that empowers your organization’s change agents to thrive, any improvement project is just a temporary fix. “A practice that is ready for change has a culture that looks for ways to improve and promotes and supports ways to enhance quality, patient care, and efficiency” (Gesme & Wiseman, 2010, p. 257).
Enter Agile Implementation (AI).
“Each step [of the AI process] allows for the uniqueness of each healthcare delivery system (from CAS theory) and recognizes that variation in clinical decisions, translations into patient care, and patient responses (from sources of variation theory) will influence the impact of a solution. The AI model leverages aspects of behavioral economics and the sociocultural and multilevel factors described in the Five Factors Framework to guide interactions and evaluations. Agile Implementation encourages individuals to act in ways that enable the success and sustainability of the selected solution” (Boustani, Azar, & Solid, 2020, p. 77). (For more information about the frameworks and theories mentioned here, refer to the book, Agile Implementation, available from the IU School of Medicine at www.hii.iu.edu.)
Based on the foundations of effective Implementation Science, Agile Implementation is a necessary tool for any leader in healthcare. Because the framework was designed by clinicians, the Agile Implementation process insightfully guides the change process in the healthcare setting. From confirming the demand for a solution, to implementing evidence-based best practices, to cultivating a learning culture, AI is the modern-day formula for healthcare quality improvement. It is the implementation plan that your current system is likely lacking when seeking to make change and sustain successful interventions.
For our more scientific readers, take a look at how Agile Implementation addresses change below. AI is based on the five key frameworks on the bottom level of this figure. Because of its implementation science foundations, the AI process is the only change methodology that we have found for healthcare that takes into account all of the complexities of the healthcare environment.
Are you and your staff equipped to implement change in your complex health system? Are you ready to become a healthcare change agent? We invite you to visit our website to learn more about the AI Training that we offer at the IU School of Medicine’s Center for Health Innovation and Implementation Science! Here you will find the tools, resources, and information you need to equip you for your implementation journey as you cultivate a culture ready for change in your organization!
- Gesme, D., & Wiseman, M. (2010). How to implement change in practice. Journal of oncology practice, 6(5), 257–259. doi:10.1200/JOP.000089
- Boustani, M., Azar, J., & Solid, C. A. (2020). Agile Implementation. New York, NY: Morgan James Publishing.