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Identifying Possible Strategies

With objectives in place, the next task of the team is to identify possible interventions and select one that seems promising. Keep in mind that all improvement requires making a change, but not all changes lead to improvement.

Section 6 of this Guide presents a number of different strategies that health care organizations can use to improve different aspects of their CAHPS performance. In addition, you may want to consult several case studies of health care organizations that have implemented strategies to improve performance on CAHPS scores.

These sources of improvement ideas offer an excellent starting point, but they are by no means comprehensive. There are many other sources for new ideas or different ways of doing things both within and outside of health care. Consequently, improvement teams should make an effort to develop and maintain systematic ways of identifying effective solutions.

New ideas and innovative solutions can be found:

  • At conferences or workshops.
  • In the academic literature, the media, and/or the popular press.
  • Through the identification of benchmark practices in health care as well as other industries, i.e., noncompetitive benchmarks.
  • Through patients and their families—whether through direct interviews and focus groups, as partners on quality improvement teams, or as members of Patient and Family Advisory Councils.
  • In the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s searchable clearinghouse of health care innovations.

One useful way to develop and learn innovative approaches is to visit other health care organizations. Resistant or hesitant staff members are often “unfrozen” by visiting another highly respected site that has successfully implemented a similar project. You can also visit a company outside of the health care industry to get new ideas. Some health plans, for example, have learned how to improve their call center operations by sending staff to visit mail-order catalog houses or brokerage firms. The Cleveland Clinic has required every doctor and senior administrator to make one “innovation site visit” a year to learn about different approaches that can be brought home and tested