Affinity Diagrams

This quality improvement tool should be read in conjunction with:

The Affinity Diagram process follows brainstorming.  After brainstorming the sticky notes are in no particular order.  The team needs to sort them into categories.

Steps:

  1. Team members silently begin to read and then arrange the sticky notes into categories (similar care processes, themes or pathways).  You will generally have between 2 and 6 categories.
  2. A HEADING is assigned to each category at the end of this process (write headings on a new sticky notes).
  3. Re-read all the sticky notes & remove any double ups.

An Affinity Diagram can contain the same information as a Cause and Effect Diagram, but is displayed in a different format.  This can be useful in appealing to the way different people learn.

    Figure 1: Example Affinity Diagram
    “Reasons why patients are not on a standardised anticoagulation pathway”

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    To learn more about Brainstorming, Affinity Diagrams and Multi Voting, please refer to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement website. You may need to take a moment and register with the IHI for more in-depth information.

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