How to Use Data for Improvement

in Measurement, Videos

By David M. Williams, PhD

Harvardx course Practical Improvement Science in Health Care with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

So, what is data? So what is data? Simply put, it’s information. It comes in many, many forms. It could be measurements, like measuring your body weight or measuring the size or the distance of something. It can be counts, the number of times something happened. Or it could be pass fail. Maybe it’s that I’m trying to determine whether we accomplished a workout, or we got all the right care for a particular patient in a specific space. All of these can be brought together to be displayed in such a way that we can learn from them.

And data is also a blend of qualitative and quantitative. So things that we observe and can categorize and see versus things that are very specific data oriented pieces, like counts and measures that we described earlier. All of these offer opportunities for us to obtain information and knowledge through inquiry through analysis and a summary of what you find. So pulling the data together helps us to learn.

In the sessions to follow, we’ll be learning about collecting data for improvement and how to display it in a way that enables analysis that builds knowledge and also helps to tell a story.

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