Research and continuous improvement: the merging of two entities?

Hosp Health Serv Adm. 1996 Fall;41(3):359-72.


Hospital administrators are under pressure to provide a quality product at reasonable prices. As a result, all aspects of hospital structure and culture are under review, which places continuous improvement (CI) programs addressing quality and satisfaction in a more prominent role. Although the theory, data collection methods, and analysis techniques of continuous improvement have grown considerably since the days of quality assurance, clinical problems in healthcare organizations are also increasingly complex and difficult to solve. From this perspective, research has a great deal to offer our current continuous improvement efforts. This paper proposes that CI and research are similar problem-solving approaches, based on philosophies that provide direction for theorizing, collecting and analyzing data, and identifying solutions. A clinical problem elaborates on the similarities of each approach. Finally, common misconceptions are discussed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Health Services Research / methods*
  • Hospital Administration
  • Models, Statistical
  • Organizational Culture
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Problem Solving
  • Total Quality Management / methods*
  • United States