Quality indicators and quality improvement methods: CCQI module 2

by Dr Michael Holland, Emily Doncaster and Sophie Hodge


Last reviewed: August 2016


In all aspects of healthcare it is of vital importance that the processes used are analysed for quality, and that any areas found to be lacking in quality are improved upon.


In order to evaluate the quality of processes we need to make use of quality indicators: measures that reflect some aspect of quality and are sensitive to differences between services and to changes over time. Quality improvement methods should be adopted to find the best solutions and to test proposed changes before implementation.


This module provides an overview of quality indicators and gives examples of methods of quality improvement. It does not cover all improvement methods. Clinical audit is a major improvement method, and this has a dedicated module: Clinical audit in mental health practice. In this module, we will look specifically at: 


  • how to select the right quality indicator for your service


  • how to analyse the processes of care that your team delivers


  • how to use the 'Plan, Do, Study, Act' (PDSA) framework.


Start the module

College Centre for Quality Improvement


Other modules in this series:


Clinical audit in mental health practice by Robin Burgess


Organisation theory: conceptual frameworks in a changing context by Professor David Crowther and Dr Miriam Green


Patient safety in mental health by Rachel Grace Paskell


Forthcoming modules in this series:


History of quality improvement in healthcare



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Download take-home notes to print and annotate


Download take-home notes to print and annotate


This is the second in a series of modules developed in association with the College Centre for Quality Improvement (CCQI).



© 2016 Royal College of Psychiatrists