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Change Management

Quick diagnosis

Have you begun an improvement initiative and it's just not progressing the way you'd like? Take a look at this simple chart—and consider where you might need to shore up five primary elements to successful change management.

Change is inevitable—and necessary to make improvement.

In healthcare, this change can be very complex, require significant inputs of time, energy, effort, and expense, and necessitate changes in both behaviors and systems. Typically, it arises due to the needs of the customer and/or the competitive landscape.

While many different change models have been tested over the years, the Model for Improvement is widely used in healthcare, including the "Breakthrough Collaboratives" managed by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. In addition, organizations can help increase the odds of success by incorporating elements from other change models with a greater emphasis on addressing the needs and motives of those tasked with carrying out the change.

What's Next?
Spreading and Sustaining Change

Once you've successfully made a change, you'll want to be sure that the idea is used throughout your organization and stands the test of time.

Learn the basic methods:

Spreading Change
View the slides (pdf)
Review the recording (wmv)

Sustaining Change: The Addiction Model
View the slides (pdf)
Review the recording (wmv)

There are many ways to reduce fear and resistance to change. When planning to make a change:

  • Set goals, measure performance, and coach the people unwilling to change
  • Ensure that those affected by the change have the right tools and training to perform
  • Clearly communicate
  • Be flexible and adapt as needed
  • Be proactive vs. reactive

There are also many factors that lead to the acceleration of change:

  • Strong leadership
  • Simple strategy
  • A clear understanding of mission and vision of the organization on all levels
  • Constant customer focus
  • Valuing innovation
  • Recognition that improvement is daily work
  • Systems focus
  • Social responsibility
  • Allowing decisions to be made at the lowest level possible


Note: Content on this page is based on The Learning and Action Network Guidebook for Quality Improvement.