CFHI Quality Improvement Primer: Driver Diagrams: Improvement Theory

April 2016

The driver diagram is a tool to facilitate the development, use, refinement and communication of improvement theory. Improvement theory reflects the best available evidence, experience and analysis of the current system and local organizational context.

It is similar to other planning, but should not become a composite of a work breakdown structure and should be continually refined based on new understanding that emerges. Tests of change (Plan-Do-Study-Act, PDSA) follow from ideas formulated based on improvement theory.

Driver diagrams can help engage shared understanding of the reason change is being planned, tested and implemented – and following successful improvement, should be part of a change package to support efforts to spread improvement. If improvement is unsuccessful, theory should be critically reviewed and modified.

This presentation is by Jim Handyside, Director and Principal, Improvision Healthcare Inc., Lucan, Ontario; and CFHI Faculty Member.

Watch the Video via YouTube

Additional Resources

Download the Driver Diagram Slides

Driver diagram serves as tool for building and testing theories for improvement by Brandon Bennett and Lloyd Provost

Demystifying theory and its use in improvement by Frank Davidoff, Mary Dixon-Woods, Laura Leviton and Susan Michie via BMJ Quality and Safety (2014).