According to statistician W. Edwards Deming, “Uncontrolled variation is the enemy of quality.” The statement is particularly true of outcomes improvement in healthcare, where variation threatens quality across processes and outcomes. To improve outcomes, health systems must recognize where and how inconsistency impacts their outcomes and reduce unwanted variation. There are three key steps to reducing unwanted variation:
- Remove obstacles to success on a communitywide level.
- Maintain open lines of communication and share lessons learned.
- Decrease the magnitude of variation.