A driver diagram illustrates a ‘theory of change’, that can be used to plan improvement project activities. This technique provides a way of systematically laying out aspects of an improvement project so they can be discussed and agreed on collaboratively by the project team.
Driver Diagram Glossary
- This is what you want to achieve, and it must be measurable. It cannot simply be “to improve” or “to reduce”
- The aim should be meaningful to your patients / service users / families / customers. We recommend that you discuss with your patients what the aim for your improvement project should be
- Use available data to understand what your big quality issues are. This may help you define a suitable aim for an improvement project
- A well-written Aim helps you identify your Outcome Measure
- These are the big topics or areas that you will need to work on, in order to achieve your aim
- All key areas of the system that you will need to influence within your project, should be captured within your drivers
- Well-written Primary Drivers help you identify your Process Measures
- Each Primary Driver could have Secondary Drivers. These are what would need to be in place to positively influence the Primary Driver
- You may need to involve other people who understand the primary drivers, to identify suitable secondary drivers
- The difference between primary and secondary drivers is one of importance. If the driver is big and critical, you should consider it as a possible primary driver
- Well-written Secondary Drivers help you identify relevant Change Ideas
- These are the ideas that your team would like to test, in order to help move towards the aim.
- All change ideas should have an effect on at least one Secondary Driver. By association, all Change Ideas are expected to help achieve the Aim
- Taken together, these are the suite of changes that go into your project plan
- If you must prioritise change ideas, one method is to ask stakeholders: first “Which of these would have the biggest impact on the Aim?” then, “Which of these is the easiest to do?” (rank by impact & effort)
Your driver diagram is your improvement strategy. There is no right or wrong driver diagram – it should represent your team’s understanding of the system you are trying to improve. Your driver diagram will undoubtedly change through your project – as you get to understand your system and processes in more detail.