Written by: Jennifer Wright

Improvement efforts aren’t just about making a change; they are about making the right change. Figuring out what your organization and patients really need can require examining a complex confluence of interconnected factors. You want to make sure you are aiming for the right target, and a driver diagram can help you organize some of these drivers into a clearer picture. We’ve been using driver diagrams in our Practice Transformation Initiative program, and I thought I’d share this template with you and give some reasons why you should use it in your improvement projects.

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1. Organize all of your ideas into a visual tool

When you’re starting an improvement project, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by how much needs to happen to make a change. It can be challenging to figure out where to even start! You can use a driver diagram to organize change ideas that come out of your team’s brainstorming session. Spend 10 minutes brainstorming “what changes can we make that will result in an improvement?”

2. You can work on it “forward” or “backward”

As long as you have your overall aim/ desired outcome in place, you can start by identifying the themes within the system you’re trying to fix. You can also brainstorm planned interventions that could actually be tested out, and then group those into themes that become your primary drivers.

3. It’s Alive! (It’s a living document)

After your team brainstorms primary and secondary drivers, the next step is to prioritize and figure out which interventions you want to test. At this point, your driver diagram is a conversational tool that you can use to get buy-in and show the link between your change ideas and your overall aim. Your team can keep coming back to the driver diagram and revise it as you learn more about what actually leads to improvement. Like any improvement tool, a driver diagram is most valuable when it’s not sitting on a shelf!



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