Change management for effective quality improvement: a primer

Am J Med Qual. Jul-Aug 2010;25(4):268-73. doi: 10.1177/1062860610361625. Epub 2010 May 5.


Technological and medical advancements have dramatically accelerated the speed of change in the realm of health care. New technology, the changing needs of patients, and economic pressures all contribute to the need for health organizations to modify practices continually. Quality improvement (QI) of current processes is central to these efforts. To best manage the introduction of change through QI in a health organization, a focus on the people side of change is necessary. Change management is any action or process taken to smoothly transition an individual or group from the current state to a future desired state of being. The authors provide an overview of the steps to design and execute QI projects that require change management. Key steps for successful change management include assessing readiness for change, establishing a sense of urgency, assembling the steering team, developing an implementation plan, executing a pilot, disseminating change, and anchoring the change within the organization. Adoption of change management practices increases the odds of success because focus is placed on the people in the organization who make things happen.

MeSH terms

  • Diffusion of Innovation*
  • Health Facility Administration
  • Humans
  • Organizational Innovation
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care / organization & administration*
  • United States