Performance improvement (PI) has contributed to health care quality and safety gains over the past two decades. Health care organizations pursue excellence by systematically identifying improvement opportunities and implementing initiatives to eliminate defects and enhance existing care processes and pathways. The concepts, principles, tools, and techniques of improvement methodologies have demonstrated value in a wide range of industries, including health care.

Chief among these methodologies are Deming’s System of Profound Knowledge, the Juran Trilogy, and the Toyota Production System — all of which share the perspective that any effort to improve a system, its processes, or its products and services must begin with customers and the people doing the work. The tools and mind-sets of human-centered design (HCD) can support PI and take it to the next level in health care, allowing a more complete understanding of patients, family members, staff, and providers — and supporting collaboration among them — to understand ambiguous challenges and develop innovative solutions to address them. …..more