The Human Side of Change

Improvement science has given health care improvers a theoretical framework and the applied technical skills to understand variation, study systems, build learning, and determine the best evidence-based interventions (“what”) and implementation strategies (“how”) to achieve the desired outcomes.

Yet, health care improvers worldwide still struggle with the adaptive side of change, which relates to unleashing the power of people (“who”) and their motivations (“why”) to advance and sustain improvement — two commonly cited reasons for the failure of improvement initiatives.

Fortunately, improvement leaders can learn and apply principles and tools from many disciplines related to the psychology of change to do just that.

Building on the legacies of Deming, Rogers, and many others, a renewed focus on the human side of change increases the likelihood that efforts to improve health and health care will succeed in the short term and be scaled and sustained over time.

The IHI Psychology of Change Framework is an approach to advancing and sustaining improvement together with the people directly and indirectly affected by that improvement.



IHI Psychology of Change FrameworkIHI Psychology of Change Framework

This white paper is a guide for all leaders interested in understanding the underlying psychology of change and leveraging its power to impact quality improvement efforts: to achieve breakthrough results, sustainably, at scale.

Download the white paper


​Additional Resources

How Do You Make Change Happen?

IHI White Paper co-author Kate Hilton provides an overview of the IHI Psychology of Change Framework.