Institute for Healthcare Improvement
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
Measurement should speed improvement, not slow it down. Often, organizations get bogged down in measurement and delay making changes until they have collected all of the data they believe they require. Remember, measurement is not the goal; improvement is the goal.
In order to move forward to the next step, a team needs just enough data to make a sensible judgment as to next steps. Instead of measuring the entire process (e.g., all patients waiting in the clinic during a month; all transfers from the ICU to the floor), measuring a sample (e.g., every sixth patient for one week; the next eight patients) is a simple, efficient way to help a team understand how a system is performing.
Sampling saves time and resources while accurately tracking performance.