HQC's top books for your quality improvement reading list

Posted on Jan 16 2020 | 1108 views

HQC's top books for your quality improvement reading list

Do you make a yearly reading list? Maybe you’ve even started a Goodreads reading challenge! If you’re looking for some quality improvement material for the year ahead, you’re in luck – we asked our resident experts for their top quality improvement reads and recommendations and they delivered some excellent suggestions. Whether you are new to QI, looking for ways to supplement your QI skills, or are looking to expand your mind, this list has some goodies for you!

What makes a good quality improvement book?

In order to compile the list, we asked our quality improvement experts: What have you found to be a powerful read to support and guide you in your quality improvement efforts? Quality improvement books can include - but are not limited to – books about leadership, data, health care, change management, problem solving and critical thinking, and patient and family-centered care.

Top QI Book #1: The Human Factor: Revolutionizing the Way We Live with Technology

Title: The Human Factor: Revolutionizing the Way We Live with Technology
Author: Kim Vicente
Goodreads Rating: 3.84 out of 5 stars

Why do you recommend this book?

“Vicente is a Canadian author and founding director of the Cognitive Engineering Laboratory at the University of Toronto. This book is an exploration of the intersection between humans and technology, and how design does not always take into account “the human factors”, leading to at best some inconvenience and at worst, death.

This book is a compelling read – Vicente includes case studies and examples from a cross-sector of industries including health care, nuclear energy, airlines, and water safety… as well as everyday items. Hint: You’ll never look at stove top controls the same way again!”

Shari Furniss
Position:
Director
In her role as Director, Learning and Development, Shari works with provincial health system partners to create innovative and effective learning programs. In addition to designing curriculum, she also develops resource materials and online modules. A key component of her work is to ensure that adult learning principles are embedded throughout the learning experience.


Top QI Book #2: The Improvement Guide: A Practical Approach to Enhancing Organizational Performance

Title: The Improvement Guide: A Practical Approach to Enhancing Organizational Performance
Author: Gerald Langley, Thomas Nolan, Lloyd Provost, Clifford Norman, Ronald Moen, Kevin Nolan
Goodreads Rating: 3.89 out of 5 stars

Why do you recommend this book?

“This book is a comprehensive guide to understanding the basic fundamentals of quality improvement science. It’s a great overview of topics like The Model for Improvement, The System of Profound Knowledge, and understanding systems.”

Chelsea Schwartz
Position:
Improvement Lead
As an Improvement Lead, Chelsea leads work related to system and stakeholder networking and engagement, supporting work within the Provincial Integrated Learning System portfolio. She draws her energy from helping others learn new skills and helping them approach old problems with new ways of thinking. Chelsea became a certified Lean Leader in May 2014.


Top QI Book #3: The Team Handbook, 3rd Edition

Title: The Team Handbook, 3rd Edition
Author: Barbara Streibel, Brian Joiner, Peter Scholtes
Goodreads Rating: 3.96 out of 5 stars

Why do you recommend this book?

“There are so many great resources for team formation/management presented with great examples. I used it when I was new to QI and still go back to it from time to time. It helped me understand why so many meetings go poorly.”

Carla Flogan
Position:
Improvement Lead
Carla was a registered dietitian and practiced for more than six years in acute care and outpatient settings working with pediatric patients and their families. Carla has supported a number of quality improvement projects across the province and completed the Lean Leader certification requirements in July 2014.


Top QI Book #4: If Disney Ran Your Hospital: 9 ½ Things You Would Do Differently

Title: If Disney Ran Your Hospital: 9 ½ Things You Would Do Differently
Author: Fred Lee
Goodreads Rating: 4.05 out of 5 stars

Why do you recommend this book?

“There are many good books out there that explain QI methodology and how to measure improvement. This book speaks to the foundational culture and mind set that supports it all. “Culture trumps strategy” is a key message in this book and so is maintaining focus on patient experience. It’s difficult to maintain an enthusiastic mind set when working through improvement and this book helps to inspire you and those that you work with.”

Angie Palen
Position:
Improvement Lead and Choosing Wisely Coordinator
Angie collaborates with engaged stakeholders and provincial partners in coaching methods that use a systematic approach to understanding root causes of issues related to health and health care, and to support improvement strategies and initiatives across the province. She is a certified provincial Lean Improvement Leader, a facilitator, a change management and quality improvement coach, and TWI Institute “Job Instruction” instructor.


Top QI Book #5: Problem Solving 101: A Simple Book for Smart People

Shari is back with another great recommendation for your booklist!

Title: Problem Solving 101: A Simple Book for Smart People
Author: Ken Watanabe
Goodreads Rating: 4.08 out of 5 stars

Why do you recommend this book?

“This book was originally written for schoolchildren to teach them critical thinking, but it’s quickly become a best-selling business book, given its wonderfully straightforward approach. (Not to mention the adorable drawings throughout the book.)

Although not specifically a quality improvement book, it does go through the improvement process – from problem identification and root cause analysis to testing ideas using Plan-Do-Study-Act cycles. Throughout the book, we follow along with three case studies:

  1. A new band, The Mushroom Lovers, who are trying to improve attendance at their gigs.
  2. John Octopus, who is trying to decide which computer to buy to create graphics and animations.
  3. Kiwi, an aspiring soccer player looking for the best training school in Brazil

As the book says, you’re never too old to become a problem-solving kid!”


Top QI Book #6: It’s Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy

Title: It's Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy
Author: Captain D. Michael Abrashoff
Goodreads Rating: 4.11 out of 5 stars

Why do you recommend this book?

“This is an engaging and inspiring read that describes through stories how Captain Abrashoff used fundamental leadership principles -- creating a culture of trust, developing people and teams, promoting shared ownership/responsibility, focusing on results, and so on -- to take his poor-performing, low morale crew to the ‘best damn ship in the Navy.’

Some may argue that many of these concepts he writes about are common sense, but hearing these stories through Captain Abrashoff's perspective is helpful to get a sense of the inner struggles that come with trying to apply these principles (and apply them well) in real life.

Highly recommended for anyone who leads people, either formally or informally.”

Jocelyn Watson
Position:
Improvement Lead
Jocelyn’s work at HQC primarily involves supporting various projects within the Learning and Implementation Services team. She collaborates with health system partners, including quality improvement specialists, clinicians, and patients and families, to design and develop tools and learning resources that build capability to lead quality improvement.


Top QI Book #7: Beautiful Evidence

Here’s Shari again with yet another great pick! (Shari has a wealth of QI knowledge and an impressive library of books!)

Title: Beautiful Evidence
Author: Edward Tufte
Goodreads Rating: 4.15 out of 5 stars

Why do you recommend this book?

“Edward Tufte is widely recognized as a leading thinker on visual representation of data. Beautiful Evidence is his most recent book and builds on his years of exploring different ways of representing data to help foster greater understanding.

Aside from being a great resource, it’s also a work of art. Tufte publishes through his own company, which allows him to produce his books in full colour and on quality paper. There are numerous examples throughout the book to prompt thinking and creativity.”


Top QI Book #8 - The Health Care Data Guide: Learning from Data for Improvement

Title: The Health Care Data Guide: Learning from Data for Improvement
Author: Lloyd P. Provost, Sandra K. Murray
Goodreads Rating: 4.43 out of 5 stars

This book is so good, TWO people from HQC recommended it!

Why do you recommend this book?

  • Comprehensive reading of all things data
  • Good combination of theory and practical application and data tips
  • Lots of examples and detailed situations to learn from
  • Doesn’t just plot data and show graphs, but also provides commentary on how to interpret and ask questions of your data and what to do next given that data
  • A go-to book that I always refer back to, reference, and pull material from

Jessica Hamilton
Position:
Improvement Lead
Jessica currently works on the Appropriateness of Care team and the Acute Stroke Pathway. Her previous work includes the Variations and Appropriateness Working group project, the provincial pathways projects, and the Releasing Time to Care evaluation.

Why do you recommend this book?

“I have found this book very useful, especially for QI researchers and analysts since "this book focuses on developing skills to use data for improvement". The book is organized from basics and fundamentals of QI in the first chapters towards more sophisticated concepts of QI in the finishing chapters. I'd highly recommend this book to those who want to understand and interpret the run charts or the control charts. The book provides many clinical relevant examples and illustrates how to plot relevant charts for those examples.”

Amir Azizian
Position:
Researcher
Amir focuses on clinical outcome data collection and analysis in support of clinical process improvement projects – specifically, projects targeting appropriateness of care that align with the provincial Appropriateness of Care Program.


Help us grow this list

There are so many ways to inform your quality improvement journey, and we hope that these books are useful resources to you as you build your quality improvement skills, because they have certainly helped us learn and grow here at HQC. Do you have a go-to quality improvement book to recommend? Let us know in the comments and help us grow this list!


Categories: Blog

Tags: quality improvement , data

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