The Search for Perpetual Motion: Fatigue, Friction, and Drag in Quality Improvement

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Abstract

Most people who have worked on continuous quality improvement (QI) with teams in the clinical microsystem have experienced “change fatigue.” Application of the “Limit-to-Growth” system archetype to QI teams within health care can be used to understand negative feedback loops generated by successful QI that can limit future progress. Awareness of these factors can result in actions designed to reduce drag on forward momentum. Leaders in health care QI can anticipate and minimize negative feedback loops that accumulate to slow subsequent progress of highly functioning improvement teams within clinical microsystems.

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