Positive deviance can play an important role in health care. The process not only identifies the positive outliers but also provides the framework for disseminating their knowledge. However, until recently, identifying individuals and groups with significantly better outcomes has been difficult in health care.
As organizations increasingly implement robust HIS systems, the systematic identification of positive deviants has become possible. From this starting point, the AURI cycle can be used to create actionable knowledge which can be disseminated and implemented. This is why clinical knowledge management is an excellent platform for quality improvement.
To use positive deviance in the CKM process for a QI project, the "analyze" step of the AURI cycle is divided into three actions:
- Identify individuals or groups with significantly better performance in your outcome of interest
- Utilize quantitative techniques to determine differences in care delivery between positive deviants and others
- Utilize qualitative techniques to determine differences in care delivery between positive deviants and others
During the "understand" step of the AURI cycle, the differences in care delivery identified in the "analyze" step are examined to determine which are most significant. These significant differences are then incorporated in the "redesign" step. During the "implement" step, these differences in care delivery and their importance to the redesign are communicated to the group. The cycle continues by analyzing whether the remainder of the group has adopted the new care processes and if they have had the desired impact on outcomes.
By using positive deviance in conjunction with the CKM process, quality improvement projects can demonstrate rapid improvement.