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Research Division

Family Medicine

PDSA Cycle Step 1

Setting Aims/Goals & Planning Change


A. Identify the Problem

  1. Clearly define the problem and establish a precise problem statement: use Identifying the Problem worksheet
  2. Identify the processes that impact the problem: use Developing a Work-plan Guidelines and blank Work-plan worksheet to get started
    • Identify processes that may prevent you from reaching the goal.
    • Collect and analyze data related to the problem


B. Set Aims

  1. What are we trying to accomplish?
  2. Identify target population: use Determining the Target Population worksheet
  3. Set a measurable goal for the problem solving effort
  4. Establish a process for coordinating with and gaining approval of leadership


C. Select and Plan Change

  1. Establish criteria for selecting a solution
  2. Generate potential solutions that will address the root causes for the problem
  3. Select a solution
  4. Gain approval and support of the chosen solution
  5. Plan the solution (see Step 2: Forming Teams)


Go to Step 2: Forming Teams
Go to Step 3: Establishing Measures
Go to Step 4: Testing Change/Testing the Intervention
Go to Step 5: Implementing Change
Go to Step 6: Spreading Change


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