Organisational development - reproduced from original image © NHS Photo Library

Having understood your culture and context, you can undertake a diagnosis to identify areas of practice which could be improved or would benefit from change.

The tools below support effective diagnosis. You can choose to use one tool or several together.

Analysis tools

When you think of a process in your practice, you might be able to think of some solutions off the top of your head. Analysis tools, however, enable you to examine an area as a team and drill down to uncover useful pieces of information, such as false assumptions, which can help generate new solutions and provide the order in which to address them. They include tools you will already be familiar with, such as clinical audit and significant event analysis.

  • RCGP Quick guide: Clinical audit

    This RCGP Quick guide provides the standard headings for a clinical audit report and gives tips on how to define and fulfil each section. It attempts to keep the process simple and will satisfy the requirements of General Medical Council (GMC) revalidation.

  • RCGP Quick guide: Fishbone diagram

    This RCGP Quick guide introduces Fishbone diagrams (also called cause and effect analysis) which are used to help to identify and display the root causes of a problem.

  • RCGP Quick guide: Process and Value Stream Mapping

    This RCGP Quick guide introduces process and value stream mapping, techniques that creates a visual representation of all the steps in a process.

  • RCGP Quick guide: Significant event analysis

    This RCGP Quick guide introduces Significant Event Analysis a technique to reflect on and learn from individual cases to improve quality of care overall.

Appreciative inquiry

RCGP quick guide: Appreciative inquiry

This RCGP quick guide introduces appreciative inquiry, a method that helps groups of people working together to learn more from their success and to build on these to generate further improvements.

Diagnostic survey

RCGP quick guide: Diagnostic survey

This RCGP quick guide introduces diagnostic survey, a frequently used method used to identify the needs of the target group for any improvement work.

External data

External data can be valuable sources of information for identifying best practice and areas for improvement. They include national audits, benchmark and performance reports and Care Quality Commission (CQC) data.

RCGP quick guide: Externally sourced data

This RCGP quick guide provides a comprehensive list of links to data sources that may be useful when undertaking quality improvement work.