Quality Improvement (PDSA Cycle) Reports


The purpose of Quality Improvement Reports is to assess current practices and compare them with relevant better practices elsewhere as a means of identifying opportunities for improvement. The PDSA cycle tasks the individual or organization to plan, do, study, and act. The PDSA cycle can be applied to the structure, or the inputs into the system, such as patients, staff, and environments; process, or the interactions between clinicians and patients; and outcomes, or evidence about changes in patients’ health status in relation to patient and community needs.

Title: The title should be formatted to include “quality improvement” or “PDSA cycle” along with the area of focus. Titles should be no longer than 15 words and the heading “title” does not need to appear in the submission.

Key Phrases/Content Focus: Choose 2-3 key phrases from the provided list that align with the content in the manuscript. In addition, you may choose to provide 1-2 key words relevant to your manuscript.

Abstract: A 300-word unstructured abstract should accompany your submission. The abstract should include an introductory statement, the clinical diagnosis, outcomes, and a clinical bottom line.

Video Abstract (Optional): A Video Abstract is an accompanying feature for research articles that should attract viewers to the scientific paper. The aim of the Video Abstract is to promote the highlights of your study. Therefore, it should include the main conclusions and results of the paper, but it should also add something to the written paper. Ideally, it should engage viewers by telling a story, for example by starting with a particular finding, a question, or a distinctive topic around which the story will unfold. Your emphasis must be on ways of capturing the attention of your audience, encouraging them to read your paper. The video can be recorded using any software and should be under 2 minutes in length. The video may include voice-over presentation, podcast, and video capture. The video abstracts will be posted on the manuscript homepage and social media.

Current Model: Define the processes currently in place. Identify opportunities for improvement that exist (look for causes of problems that have occurred, identify potential problems before they occur; root cause analysis). This may include points where breakdowns have occurred, “work-a-rounds” that have developed, variations to the protocol, and duplicate or unnecessary steps.  This section should include answers to the following questions:

  1. What was the aim of your project/trying to accomplish? Decide what you will change in the process. This may include identifying better ways to do things that address the root cause of the problem.
  2. What change can you make that will result in an improvement? Determine your intervention based on your analysis. This may be based on what has worked at other organizations or through a review of the best available evidence.
  3. How will you know that change is an improvement (measures)? Describe the measureable outcomes you are hoping to see with an emphasis on continual solution development.

PDSA Cycle: In this section, the author(s) will outline the procedures for the quality improvement process and what was done to complete it. The following subheadings should be include.

Plan –

List your action steps along with person(s) responsible and time line.

What change are you testing with the PDSA cycle(s)?

What do you predict will happen and why?

Who will be involved in this PDSA? (e.g., one staff member or students, one season?).

How long will the change take to implement?

What resources will they need?

What data need to be collected?

Do –

Describe what actually happened when you ran the test.

Carry out the test on a small scale.

Document observations, including any problems and unexpected findings.

Collect data you identified as needed during the “plan” stage.

Study –

Describe the measured results and how they compared to the predictions.

Study and analyze the data.

Determine if the change resulted in the expected outcome.

Were there implementation lessons?

Summarize what was learned. Look for: unintended consequences, surprises, successes, failures.

Act - 

Describe what modifications to the plan will be made for the next cycle from what you learned.

Based on what was learned from the test:

Adapt – modify the changes and repeat PDSA cycle.

Adopt – consider expanding the changes in your organization to additional athletic trainers, physicians, and students. 

Abandon – change your approach and repeat the PDSA cycle.

References: List all references used to support the case at the conclusion of the column. Please adhere to AMA guidelines.