In principle, you can get started with quality improvement immediately by selecting a tool and applying it to one of your projects or programmes. In Quality Action we found that it is important to start small so that the first experience of using structured quality improvement is positive and that teams and stakeholders experience an immediate benefit from it. If your team and stakeholders are already motivated and you have a skilled facilitator, the materials provided with each of the tools offer enough guidance on how to use them.
However, we recommend introducing your team to structured quality improvement first, e.g. using the Quality Action presentation on concepts and methods of quality improvement and the Workshop Facilitation Guide. Depending on the existing skills and experience in your team, you may benefit from organising some training or technical assistance with one of the Quality Action trainers/facilitators available across Europe.
The experience of Quality Action has shown that there are six key factors that commonly influence the success of introducing structured quality improvement:
Tool Fit: selecting the most appropriate quality improvement tool, including making adaptations.
Planning and Preparation: planning structured quality improvement step by step, including preparation and follow-up as well as the actual meeting or workshop during which the tool is applied.
Participation and Involvement: selecting relevant stakeholders to take part and strategies to achieve their meaningful involvement.
Facilitation: keeping the quality improvement discussions focused as well as creative.
Available Resources: using what already exists within an organisational structure (such as meeting facilities, existing team meetings or planning cycles) to support the quality improvement process.
Additional Support: winning the personal support of line managers, funders and other relevant stakeholders as well as organising any additional resources that may be needed, such as finances for hiring a good meeting venue, reimbursing travel costs, paying an external facilitator and offering some refreshments.
Workshop Facilitation Manual
In 2014/2015, Quality Action provided training to participants from European countries in using quality improvement tools. Some of these participants then provided training to others working in HIV prevention in their countries. The Workshop Facilitation Manual aims to assist trainers in providing quality improvement workshops in their countries and organisations.
It includes a collection of plenary and small group activities that have been used successfully in previous Quality Action training workshops. They can be used in different combinations and adapted to suit different objectives and audiences.
The manual also contains sample training workshop schedules, which a number of countries have used to organise training on the tools in their countries. They may also be useful as a guide for training others within organisations.