Start and Run a Freeform PDSA (Plan-Do-Study-Act)

A PDSA cycle is the basic method of inquiry in improvement research. It’s a pragmatic scientific method for iterative testing of changes in complex systems. Each cycle (Plan-Do-Study-Act) is a mini-experiment in which observed outcomes are compared to predictions. Discrepancies between predictions and observed outcomes become a source of learning.

To run a freeform PDSA, select the change idea from the Driver List or Driver Diagram on which you would like to run a PDSA. On the change idea page, select Freeform PDSA. The system will guide you through the various elements for running your PDSA.



In the freeform PDSA text box, enter your Plan, Do, Study, and Act information, or your Plan, Do, and Study information, depending on the form displayed.


Attach relevant artifacts with the orange Attach new files button.


If the action portion of the form is present and your PDSA is complete, select an action: Adopt, Adapt, Abandon, or Not Applicable.


Selecting Adapt prompts you to explain how you will iterate on the change idea.


Selecting Abandon prompts you to explain why you will abandon testing on the change idea.


Select Complete and Publish.


If you paused at the Plan, Do, or Study sections, select Save as in-progress. Your freeform PDSA will be visible on the Homepage, where you can select it to continue your work.


On the PDSA summary page, edit your PDSA by selecting Edit, select PDF to download your PDSA as a PDF, or delete your PDSA by selecting Delete.


Do not upload any Personally Identifiable Information (PII).

Note: Depending on your NIC’s NILS instance, phase, and your network role, some items may appear differently in the menu bar.

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