Background: A need exists for constant evaluation and modification of processes within healthcare systems to achieve quality improvement. One common approach is the Model for Improvement that can be used to clearly define aims, measures, and changes that are then implemented through a plan-do-study-act (PDSA) cycle. This approach is a commonly used method for improving quality in a wide range of fields. The Model for Improvement allows for a systematic process that can be revised at set time intervals to achieve a desired result.
Methods: We used the Model for Improvement in an acute psychiatry unit (APU) to improve the screening incidence of abnormal involuntary movements in eligible patients-those starting or continuing on standing neuroleptics-with the Abnormal Involuntary Movement Scale (AIMS).
Results: After 8 weeks of using the Model for Improvement, both of the participating inpatient services in the APU showed substantial overall improvement in screening for abnormal involuntary movements using the AIMS.
Conclusion: Crucial aspects of a successful quality improvement initiative based on the Model for Improvement are well-defined goals, process measures, and structured PDSA cycles. Success also requires communication, organization, and participation of the entire team.
Keywords: Hospitalization; inpatients; mental disorders; quality improvement.