Flowchart

A flowchart identifies the actual flow of events in a process, in comparison to the prescribed or ideal flow of events. A flowchart:

  • Shows complexity, redundancy, problem areas
  • Compares and contrasts the actual vs. the ideal
  • Allows a team to agree on the steps of the process
  • Identifies areas where additional data can be collected and analyzed
  • Serves as a training aid

How to Construct a Flowchart

Creation

  1. Clearly define where the process begins and ends
  2. Determine the steps in the process
  3. Put the steps in sequence (as is, not as what it should be)
  4. Draw the flowchart and test it
  5. Finalize the flowchart
  6. Compare it to the ideal process

Interpretation

  • Analyze the flow of events relative to standard practice or the ideal flow
  • Look for duplication of effort or unnecessary wait time
  • Consider the complexity of the process and how it could be simplified
  • Determine whether there is variation in how different people follow the process

Examples of Flowcharts

Icon

Countryside CHB: Checking Immunization Status

Flowchart Example

More Examples

Icon State of Alaska Epidemiology, Health, and Social Services: Public Health Emergency: Flow of Event (PDF: 119KB / 1 page)
Icon Los Angeles County Dept. of Public Health: Rabies Prevention Flowchart (PDF: 68KB / 2 pages)

Further Reading

More Information

Icon American Society for Quality: Flowchart

Courses and Trainings

Icon University of Minnesota School of Public Health: Operationalizing Quality Improvement in Public Health

Source

Icon Public Health Memory Jogger
If you belong to a local health agency in Minnesota and would like a Memory Jogger free of charge, please contact the QI Unit.