Planning for Data Collection

in Measurement, Videos

By David M. Williams, PhD

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

So when you’re thinking about data, ask yourself, how do I get that data, and then how can I get just enough to learn. You also need to be thoughtful and intentional about the plan you develop to collect the data. Include things like the technical details, the who, the what, the where. Actually really think about how you’re going to get that data and who’s going to do it and what process they’re going to follow.

For any process, you’re collecting the data for a number of reasons, including to understand the variation or the behavior, to monitor the process over time, to see if it’s consistent or if it’s changing, to see the effect of changes as we test alterations to the process to see if they’re actually resulting in the improvement we’re trying to achieve. And it provides a common reference point for each of us to be able to have good conversations about the improvement work that we’re doing and the effect that it’s having. And lastly, it provides us a more accurate basis for prediction. So we can use the data as a way to help us have a sense of what we expect to happen in the future.

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