WIHI: How to Make Change Happen: An Introduction to IHI's Psychology of Change Framework ​

Date: May 10, 2018


  • Michael Rose, MD, Anesthesiologist, Vice President of Surgical Services & Chairperson of Community Board of Trustees, McLeod Regional Medical Center
  • ​Kate B. Hilton, JD, MTS, Faculty, Institute for Healthcare Improvement; Senior Consultant, ReThink Health​
  • Alex Anderson, Research Associate, Institute for Healthcare Improvement

For the past 30 years, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI)​ has worked with organizations around the world to improve health and health care using an approach to quality improvement that's grounded in W. Edwards Deming's System of Profound Knowledge. Dedicated improvers know that, to achieve results, we need to consistently apply systems thinking, an understanding of variation, and theories of knowledge.

So, what often stands in the way of adopting and spreading meaningful improvements? Breaking news: People are resistant to change.

Deming himself stressed the importance of psychology — or the adaptive, human side of change — in his System of Profound Knowledge. But health care improvers still have a lot of work to do to sharpen our thinking, vocabulary, and tools in this challenging domain.

That's why the IHI Innovation Team has been researching and testing "psychology of change" ideas and methods to promote and accelerate successful, scalable, and sustainable improvement work. Kate Hilton and Alex Anderson described how they are working with organizations to implement the IHI Psychology of Change Framework, and Dr. Michael Rose discussed implementing many of these methods to spread the use and adoption of a surgical safety checklist at McLeod Regional Health Center in Florence, South Carolina on this episode WIHI.


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