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Stage 6 Next Steps

What should you do now?
Now that you have collected and analysed your data and you have reported your findings, what should you do with it?

This is the most important bit – identifying how your findings can help to change practice for the better, and doing it!  Improvement methods can help a lot here.  If you do not use your findings to improve practice, you will lose a great deal of their value and staff are less likely to want to engage in future projects.

You now need to decide what to do with your findings and where to focus your efforts.  Perhaps you have made a number of important findings.  It is better to keep focused and to prioritise what needs to be addressed first, and what can wait.  Make an action plan and give yourself a set of objectives within a timeframe for improvement.  

Once you have prioritised what you are going to do and developed your action plan, it is time to implement your changes.  There are various methods for making service improvements.  The following are just a few suggestions of where you may look for ideas:-

See the Picker Institute’s ‘Using Patient Feedback’ guidelines (2009), section ‘Action Planning for Improvement’ (starting on page 16) for comprehensive guidance in creating and carrying out your action plan.  One of the Key messages set out in this document is to use SMART objectives when developing your action plan.  That is:

  • Specific – define what exactly needs to be done
  • Measureable – describe how you will know that the action has been achieved
  • Achievable – set yourself realistic goals and objectives
  • Relevant – make sure that your actions are relevant to ongoing improvement work
  • Timebound – set a date for completion of key stages

‘Measuring Impact in Health Improvement: An Accessible Guide for Health Practitioners’ (Local Government Improvement and Development, 2011) gives excellent guidance on how to carry out and evaluate the impact of a project or initiative.  The planning guidance in particular will be useful when planning any changes to service based on your recent findings.

Once you have made your changes, then its time to measure again to see what the difference has been – it really is just a continuous cycle of improvement and measurement! Remember that you have to use the same measures you used before if you are wanting to compare like with like.

You have now reached the final stage of the Framework for Measuring Impact.  We hope that you have found this useful and welcome any feedback or questions that you may have.  And remember, if you are looking to discuss the Framework, the measures recommended within the Framework or any measuring issues that you have had, our discussion group may be a good place to go.

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