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Understanding your problem


The notion of quality improvement is not new, in fact it’s be around in other industries for a long time (more information about the history of quality improvement can be found by clicking the Interesting Resources button of the QI home page).

The principles of quality improvement have been applied to healthcare and you may hear terms like ‘systems thinking’ or ‘System of Profound Knowledge (SoPK)’. These come from the work of Dr. W. Edwards Deming, who developed an effective theory of management, SoPK looks like this:

By looking at your problem through each of the four lenses you have a better understanding of important aspects that effect what you are trying to improve, which should inform the changes you make.

Videos about SoPK

Applying SoPK

This tool has been adapted by Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust from Deming’s work and can be used as prompt when applying SoPK to your problem in practice: