Model for Improvement: A framework for developing, testing and implementing changes

The Model for Improvement, developed by Associates in Process Improvement, is a simple yet powerful tool for accelerating improvement. The model has two parts:

Part 1

  1. What are we trying to accomplish?
  2. How will we know that the change is an improvement?
  3. What changes can we make that will result in an improvement

Part 2

  • Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycle: An iterative four-step problem-solving process typically used for process improvement, the PDSA cycle is also known as the Deming or Shewhart cycle. The PDSA cycle guides the test of a change to determine whether the change is an improvement.

The teams worked on the three community projects, from October 2009 through May 2010, toward specific improvements within a school setting in physical activity minutes or sales of healthy lunch items.

Nutrition and physical activities are priorities identified in the Prevention Agenda Toward the Healthiest State. The purpose of the project is to learn to improve on the indicators identified in the Prevention Agenda using the Healthy People 2020 Action Model, and share the methods and findings with community partners.

The Model for Improvement is based on work by W. Edward Deming, also called the father of the science of quality improvement. The approach involves working with a team to articulate a clear goal, identify quantitative measures, select changes or interventions to help meet the goals, test the changes, study whether they worked, and implement or modify the change activities.