An appreciative inquiry approach to practice improvement and transformative change in health care settings

Qual Manag Health Care. Jul-Sep 2007;16(3):194-204. doi: 10.1097/01.QMH.0000281055.15177.79.

Abstract

Amid tremendous changes and widespread dissatisfaction with the current health care system, many approaches to improve practice have emerged; however, their effects on quality of care have been disappointing. This article describes the application of a new approach to promote organizational improvement and transformation that is built upon collective goals and personal motivations, invites participation at all levels of the organization and connected community, and taps into latent creativity and energy. The essential elements of the appreciative inquiry (AI) process include identification of an appreciative topic and acting on this theme through 4 steps: Discovery, Dream, Design, and Destiny. We describe each step in detail and provide a case study example, drawn from a composite of practices, to highlight opportunities and challenges that may be encountered in applying AI. AI is a unique process that offers practice members an opportunity to reflect on the existing strengths within the practice, leads them to discover what is important, and builds a collective vision of the preferred future. New approaches such as AI have the potential to transform practices, improve patient care, and enhance individual and group motivation by changing the way participants think about, approach, and envision the future.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Health Services Administration
  • Humans
  • Motivation
  • Organizational Case Studies
  • Organizational Innovation*
  • Organizational Objectives
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care / organization & administration*
  • United States