The self-quality improvement project will be to participate in cardiovascular exercise three times per week for two months, for no less than thirty minutes at a time. The three person team that will be participating in this self-quality improvement project will consist of the student, the student’s husband, and the student’s daughter. The student will be the team leader for this self-quality improvement project. In order to structure this self-quality improvement project, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Model for Improvement, developed by the Associates in Process Improvement (IHI, 2012) will be utilized.

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There are two essential parts to the Model for Improvement, including the answers to the three questions of what is trying to be accomplished, how to know if the change is an improvement, and what changes may be made that will result in improvement, and the Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA) cycle tests and changes implemented (NY Department of Health, 2011). The steps involved in completing the Model for Improvement include forming the team, setting aims, establishing measures, selecting changes, and then implementing the PDSA cycle test (IHI, 2011).

The team itself has already been formed, again, comprising of the student, the student’s husband, and the student’s child. The next necessary step is to set the aims of the team itself. The aims serve to answer the first question of the first part of the Model for Improvement, “What are we trying to accomplish?” The aim statement identifies the system being improved, specific goals, a specific time frame, and provides guidance on strategies and barriers (Colorado 5 Million Lives Campaign, 2007).

The aim statement for the team will be: “To participate in cardiovascular exercise three times per week for two months, for no less than thirty minutes at a time in order to improve physical fitness, energy levels, and muscle tone.”

Now that the team has been determined and the aim statement set, the next task consists of determining and establishing the measures that will be necessary to determine if a change leads to improvement. In other words, will participating in some form of cardiovascular exercise for three times a week for two months, for no less than thirty minutes at a time provide a benefit, or an improvement in the lives of those participating? Many different types of measurement may be selected for this step, including daily knowledge application, sequential tests, and data gathering (IHI, 2011). For the purposes of this self-quality improvement project, the team members will track the following pieces of information for each period of exercise undertaken: weight prior to exercising, energy level on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the most energetic, and 1 being the least energetic, and type of exercise being undertaken. Once the team is finished with their exercise they are to record their energy level, and the duration of time spent exercising. On a weekly basis, team members are to record their BMI, once prior to starting the improvement project, and then once per week at the end of each week.

The next aspect that will need to be addressed is selecting the changes, serving to answer the question of what changes may be made that will result in improvement. While there are many different ways to select the changes that will allow for improvement, many are not applicable to this particular type of self-improvement project; of those that are, changes in environment, and a focus on variation (IHI, 2011) are the two changes that will be addressed in order to allow for the team’s improvement. They will vary the different cardiovascular activities that they participate in on a daily basis, with at least a one day variation in activity. For example, the team will not go out and walk around the neighborhood for three days a week, but rather, on one day they may go bicycle riding, the next they may go walking, and the third they may go swimming. The next week they may go rollerblading, jogging, and opt for bicycle riding again. By changing up the different exercises that the team participates in, not only is it changing the team’s environment, but it also serves as a way to provide the variation they will need in order to ensure a total body workout.

The last part of the Model for Improvement is implementing the PDSA cycle. The first stage, the planning, has been done here, the next step is to do, which will be the implementation of the plan itself. This will be followed by studying the data provided to see whether or not the plan itself was successful. The last step of the PDSA cycle is acting, which requires planning the next change in the cycle and working to implement that change to see if that next change in the plan itself will serve to have better results (NHS, 2012).

After the testing of the changes on smaller scales, learning from those tests, and refining the changes through several iterations of the PDSA cycle, the team itself may opt to implement the change on a broader scale (IHI, 2012). One possible way that the team may opt to implement these changes on a broader scale would be to switching to a full exercise plan, including weight training on two days to go with the three days of cardiovascular exercise, changing their diet to a more healthy diet to go with their healthier lifestyle, or some variation of all three. Through the different iterations of PDSA, it will be possible to see what works best for this team, and how they are best able to go through and complete goals of self-improvement, both as a team, and overall.