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Analyzing Cause and Effect Processes

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Course Details

Credit/contact hours: .5
Estimated time to complete: 30 minutes
Publication Date: March 19, 2020
Expiration date: March 19, 2026
Reviewed: March 18, 2023


Other modules in the Skills series describe how to create a process map to identify opportunities to build a better process. Once you have a map, you will have analyzed it to identify problems delays, gaps, confusion, variation, and waste. Next you will need to analyze further to understand the root causes and contributing factors for these problems. Without this deeper understanding, it would be premature to begin developing solutions. In this module, we explore techniques to tease out the underlying causes of process and systems problems that will give you confidence about where to focus your efforts as you redesign your process for the future.

Note: This course is eligible for ACPE credit.

You Will Learn

  • Describe the 5 Whys approach to identifying causes of a problem
  • Use an Ishikawa (fishbone) diagram to identify multiple causes from an effect
  • Use an interrelationship diagram to differentiate problem drivers and effects

Method and medium:

Learners participate in the interactive learning modules by correctly answering multiple choice questions dispersed throughout. Learners will be prompted to try again, if a question is answered incorrectly.The course will open in a new tab - to exit the course, simply close that tab.

John D. Voss, MD

John D. Voss, MD, is in the Division of General Medicine, Geriatrics and Palliative Care at the University of Virginia.

DISCLOSURE: This individual reports no relevant financial relationships with commercial entities.

Katharine Schlag, MSN, RN, FNP

DISCLOSURE: This individual reports no relevant financial relationships with commercial entities.

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