Management strategies to effect change in intensive care units: Lessons from the world of business: Part II. quality-improvement strategies

Hayley B. Gershengorn, Robert Kocher, Phillip Factor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The success of quality-improvement projects relies heavily on both project design and the metrics chosen to assess change. In Part II of this three-part American Thoracic Society Seminars series,we begin by describing methods for determiningwhich data to collect, tools for data presentation, and strategies for data dissemination. As Avedis Donabedian detailed a half century ago, defining metrics in healthcare can be challenging; algorithmic determination of the best type of metric (outcome, process, or structure) can help intensive care unit (ICU) managers begin this process. Choosing appropriate graphical data displays (e.g., run charts) can prompt discussions about and promote quality improvement. Similarly, dashboards/scorecards are useful in presenting performance improvement data either publicly or privately in a visually appealing manner. To have compelling data to show, ICU managers must plan quality-improvement projects well. The second portion of this review details four quality-improvement tools - checklists, Six Sigma methodology, lean thinking, and Kaizen. Checklists have become commonplace in many ICUs to improve care quality; thinking about how to maximize their effectiveness is now of prime importance. Six Sigmamethodology, lean thinking, and Kaizen are techniques that use multidisciplinary teams to organize thinking about process improvement, formalize change strategies, actualize initiatives, and measure progress. None originated within healthcare, but each has been used in the hospital environment with success. To conclude this part of the series, we demonstrate how to use these tools through an example of improving the timely administration of antibiotics to patients with sepsis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)444-453
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of the American Thoracic Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • Checklist
  • Critical care
  • Management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Management strategies to effect change in intensive care units: Lessons from the world of business: Part II. quality-improvement strategies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this