9 Pillars of Quality Improvement: Assessing Your Organizational Effectiveness

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by Sonja Armbruster[1] and John Moran[2]

Based on the article published on PEX Network last year, "The Nine Pillars of Quality Improvement"[3] a self-assessment has been developed for any organizations to use to rate themselves on these nine pillars:

1. Operations Management

2. Human Resources

3. Safety

4. Regulatory

5. Accreditation

6. Customer Relations

7. Cost Control

8. Work Force Competencies

9. Training

The self-assessment is based on the Public Health Accreditation Board’s[4] domains and standards but is applicable to any organization. Each of the nine pillars has been broken down with sub-questions to help in the rating of the overall pillar. It is recommended that this assessment be conducted with a team of senior leaders who will come to a consensus score for each of the rating elements on each of the nine pillars. When scores are entered on the score sheet they will be automatically averaged and then plotted on a Radar Chart[5] to visually show the overall assessment results.

The value in this tool is two-fold. First, once scores have been plotted, identification of the gaps in developing a culture of quality becomes more obvious, as do the potential interventions. Second, the discussion and consensus process provides a targeted conversation around specific organizational strategies and behaviors that can help move the organization toward a culture of quality. Tools like this can transform an abstract idea about culture into practical action steps.

This assessment of the Nine Pillars of Quality Improvement provides data for developing action plans to systematically improve the culture of quality within an organization. This assessment could be conducted quarterly or annually to track progress toward developing an organization-wide culture of quality.

Download a PDF copy of the assessment form now, and contact Sonja directly should you wish to receive the Excel Workbook version.

[1] Sonja Armbruster, MA, Public Health Initiatives Director for Wichita State University’s Center for Community Support and Research and consultant for the Public Health Foundation; Facilitator of the Wichita Health Alliance 2009 – Present, PHAB Site Visitor, and Adjunct Faculty for Wichita State University Public Health Sciences Program and the University of Kansas School of Medicine, Master of Public Health Program

[2]John W. Moran, Ph.D. is a Senior Quality Advisor to the Public Health Foundation. President of the Advisory Board of Choose To Be Healthy Coalition of the Healthy Maine Partnership for York County, Maine, 2011 – present. A member of PHAB’s Evaluation and Quality Improvement Committee 2013 – present. Adjunct Professor Arizona State University College of Health Solutions' School for the Science of Health 2013 – present.

[3]Reference: Published in the Process Excellence Newsletter July 2, 2014


[5] Public health Quality Improvement Encyclopedia, J. Moran, et al., Public Health Foundation, © 2012, pp.105-106