Systems change: What is systems change?

This toolkit promotes a “systems change” approach to chronic disease prevention and screening within a clinical setting. “Systems” are the practices within an organization that guide daily operations.
Health care systems can enact organizational changes as part of quality improvement efforts. This often involves the creation or modification of policies, which are written procedures that employees are expected to follow. Once a policy is created and implemented, it can be evaluated and modified to ensure that it’s sustainable for years to come. This systems change approach aligns with quality improvement processes used in Patient-Centered Medical Home settings, such as the RE-AIM model.

PDSA model
For the purposes of this toolkit, we’ll use the PDSA (Plan, Do, Study, Act) model as an example of how you and your local public health agency can help facilitate systems change within the clinical setting.
Define the problem, plan the changes and establish baseline measures:
Implement the plan, collect the data:
Measure outcomes and summarize results:
  • Compare newly generated data with baseline.
  • What changes need to be made?
Refine the changes as needed; plan for next cycle: