The Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycle is a framework for testing and implementing changes on a small scale. While the change you are testing may be big, the test itself is small when using a PDSA cycle approach. This means that instead of making a big change to a system before you know whether it will result in improvement, you carry out multiple small-scale tests to build knowledge and increase the likelihood that the change will be successful.
This framework is highly applicable and relevant to social health integration. Integrating social health services, such as screening and resource navigation, into your care model requires making changes to existing processes, procedures, workflows, staff roles and responsibilities, the clinic environment, and more. In addition, social health integration is not a “one size fits all” set of changes. Rather, these changes will need to be adapted and tailored for the specific context or setting in which you are integrating services. This makes PDSA cycles a valuable tool for care teams engaged in social health integration. Iterative, small-scale testing accelerates learning and creates more opportunities for successful changes without completely disrupting the system in which you are working. PDSA cycles are also an important means of soliciting patient feedback as you make changes to integrate social health services.