Patient smart - improvement methodologies

Quality Improvement is always trying to identify where there may be problems and make improvements within our services, ‘better, best, brilliant’.  We have created four ways of looking at and solving problems and we chose the best one based on the complexity and/or difficulty of the problem we are trying to solve.

Our four improvement methods are:

Four improvement methods


STEPS is a 6 step ‘do it yourself’ (DIY) toolkit for teams to use to identify opportunities for improvement and solve simple problems working within their own environment.

2. Blitz

Blitz is a structured approach for teams to work together to review a process from start to finish and identify solutions that will increase efficiency and effectiveness.


FAST is an applied learning and mentoring approach for structured problem solving and project management. It is used for medium scale improvement projects.  FAST agents are trained and mentored by our own in-house quality improvement specialist [view more about the FAST programme].

See an example of a FAST project here:

4. Rigour

Rigour projects are led by our quality improvement specialists.  These team members have specialist skills in quality improvement science.  Problems requiring a rigour project are large, complex, organisation wide and high value, which is why we assign a dedicated specialist in continuous improvement to lead this work.

See examples of our rigour projects here:

Summary of methodologies


What is it?

How does it work?

When is it used?


 In-depth process improvement approach to Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve and Control. Methods use statistical evidence and analysis

Led by the Quality Improvement Specialist, with a cross-service team of subject matter experts

For complex, high value or end-to-end problems

For issues where we may not know the root cause and don't know the solutions


A structured problem solving and project management methodology with 4 key steps

Participants (FAST Agents) attend a course with a workplace project so theory and learning can be "applied"

Our FAST specialist mentors participants through to the completion of the project

For small to medium sized improvement projects with a divisional focus


Using the knowledge of cross-service teams to understand issue and put in place solutions

Quality team facilitates - work done by teams. 2 x 3 hour workshops with team + implementation time

Requiring a group of stakeholders for their expertise to investigate, plan and implement


6 Step - DIY approach to identifying understanding and addressing basic problems

Manager trained to take their team through this DIY tool. Teams go through a 2 hour workshop, followed by a 10 day implementation

Quick ‘just do it’ issues and problems. Used when we know the issue and have some ideas about the solutions