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Measurement is essential to monitoring success and helps guide your team towards your specific intervention goal. Measurement also tells us what's working and what's not, and provides evidence to inspire other healthcare providers to improve the quality of patient safety.

The measurement methodology and recommendations regarding sampling size referenced in this GSK, is based on The Model for Improvement and is designed to accelerate the pace of improvement using the PDSA cycle;  a "trial and learn" approach to improvement  based on the scientific method. Langley, G., Nolan, K., Nolan, T., Norman, C., Provost, L. The Improvement Guide: A Practical Approach to Enhancing Organizational Performance. San Francisco, Second Edition, CA. Jossey-Bass Publishers. 2009.

It is not intended to provide the same rigor that might be applied in a research study, but rather offers an efficient way to help a team understand how a system is performing. When choosing a sample size for your intervention, it is important to consider the purposes and uses of the data and to acknowledge when reporting that the findings are based on an "x" sample as determined by the team.

The scope or scale (amount of sampling, testing, or time required) of a test should be decided according to:

  1. The team's degree of belief that the change will result in improvement
  2. The risks from a failed test
  3. Readiness of those who will have to make the change

Provost, Lloyd P; Murray, Sandra (2011-08-26). The Health Care Data Guide: Learning from Data for Improvement (Kindle Locations 1906-1909). Wiley. Kindle Edition.

Please refer to the Improvement Frameworks GSK (2015) for additional information.

Measurement Worksheets (Measures) and Data Collection Forms (DCF)

Measures DCFs
Aggregate data (monthly)De-identified Patient-level data (daily)
Numerator and DenominatorMultiple data elements
Roll-up to Measurement Worksheets


VTE Audit

The tool is designed for use in Acute Care, and was developed to allow organizations to assess the quality of their venous thromboembolism prevention practices and determine the areas requiring quality improvement(s).

DCF (Audit) Question Roll-up to Measures
A. Preprinted order used on admission or after surgeryVTE 4
B. Type of thromboprophylaxisVTE 2
C. Receiving appropriate thromboprophylaxisVTE 1
D. Reason recommended thromboprophylaxis  not usedVTE 3

VTE Measures

Measure Goal Type
VTE 1 - Percent of Patients Receiving Appropriate Venous Thromboembolism Prophylaxis100% Outcome
VTE 2 - Type of Thromboprophylaxis Delivered (Optional Measure)100% Information
VTE 3 - Reasons that Recommended Thromboprophylaxis was NOT Used (Optional Measure)0% Information
VTE 4 - Percent Appropriate  Use of Order Sets for Thromboembolism Prophylaxis100% Process

Types of Measures

Safer Healthcare Now! (SHN) has two types of measures for each of the interventions: process measures and outcome measures. Some interventions also have balancing measures and information measures. Below are examples of each.

Outcome measures - answers whether the team is achieving what it is trying to accomplish and articulates the picture of success. For example, if the team wants to reduce falls it should measure the number of falls.

Process measures - Processes which directly affect the outcome are measured to ensure that all key changes are being implemented to impact the outcome measure. For example, the delivery of timely prophylactic antibiotics to reduce surgical site infection.

Balancing measures - answer the question whether improvements in one part of the system were made at the expense of other processes in other parts of the system. For example, in a project to reduce the average length of stay for a group of patients, the team should also monitor the percent of readmissions within 30 days for the same group.

Information measures - collect general details relative to the intervention.