Training Case Studies - Measurements for Improvement Training

Measurement for Improvement – Tanya Colley, Audit Officer


“Attending the Understanding and Reducing Variation and SPC in Health courses enabled me to apply new knowledge to audit data and produce SPC charts which were much more meaningful in evaluating the effectiveness of my projects.”

Tanya Colley is an Audit Officer at Bradford working as part of cancer earlier diagnosis projects. Tanya had previously completed some audit work within substance misuse services for professional development. In her current role, with support from her manager, Tanya’s role has now developed to also include other aspects of quality improvement work.

Tanya is involved in 4 pilot projects based on achieving earlier diagnosis within cancer pathways:

  • Straight to test for suspected colorectal cancers
  • FIT testing for bowel cancer
  • One-stop haematuria pathway
  • Vague symptoms pathway

Tanya attended the Understanding and Reducing Variation and SPC in Healthcare workshops in June and now feels she has a much better understanding of variation and what the control limits mean in terms of evaluating the effectiveness of a process. Tanya was able to apply this knowledge to audit data that she has collected and produce SPC charts. Previously, Tanya was producing line and bar charts but now creates SPCs which she finds more meaningful in evaluating the effectiveness of the pilot projects.

The key learning points Tanya took from attending the workshops were:

  • What variation in a process really means and why it’s important to include this when measuring improvement over time
  • How to create SPC charts, which type of chart to use to demonstrate different pieces of data, and when to use this within projects for specific outcomes.

The skills Tanya gained during the workshop, enabling her to show sustained improvement on SPC and other charts, are being used in the business cases Tanya is writing to have these projects made “business as usual” within the Trust. Tanya will now continue to collect, evaluate and display data for the work streams she is involved in.

Tanya attended the Improvement Academy Understanding and Reducing Variation in Healthcare and SPC in Healthcare courses, funded through the Yorkshire and Humber AHSN on 19th and 26th June 2018.