Introduction to Measurement for Improvement: Run Charts, Pareto Charts & Histograms

The Clinical Excellence Commission Quality Improvement Academy website provides a range of quality tools and resources to support NSW Health staff to improve the quality of care for our patients. The tools and resources include graphs, charts, diagrams and mapping tools designed to help you plot the data around your intended quality improvement initiative. By using these tools and resources throughout your Quality Improvement initiative, you and your team can gain a better understanding of the underlying problems that are causing the issue, gain insight as to how best to go about the improvement and develop an effective strategy to complete your project.

This full day workshop will introduce you to some of the tools for measurement such as the Run Chart, Pareto Chart and the 80/20 Rule, Histogram,  Tally Sheet, Basic Statistics and the concepts of measurement and data collection. Bring your laptop as you will learn how to create these charts in Excel. Please note – this is not an Excel Course (approximately 15% of the workshop will be using Excel).

Learning objectives

After completion of the workshop the participant will be able to

  • Navigate the CEC Quality Tools web site pages
  • Download & use the Quality Tool Excel templates on CEC Website
  • Create and interpret a Run Chart
  • Create and interpret a Pareto Chart and describe the 80:20 rule
  • Create and interpret a Histogram
  • Describe the difference between median and mean
  • Describe the Family of Measures - Outcome, Process and Balancing measures
  • Describe the different types of data: Categorical, Continuous and Attribute data
  • Differentiate between the Numerator & Denominator
  • Describe the importance of an operational definition
  • Describe how and when to use a Tally Sheet
  • Demonstrate the use of measurement in rapid cycle PDSAs
  • Apply some basic Excel skills

Prior learning requirements

Nil prior formal learning requirements, however it would be beneficial to have completed the following;

Pre-reading and resources

See the Clinical Excellence Commission's Quality Improvement Academy website and review the pages on:

Learning pathway

What next - After completing this workshop you will have the knowledge and skills to undertake the Applied Measurement & Variation Workshop at the CEC.

Mode of delivery, duration & what to bring:

  • A full day (9am to 5pm) face to face, interactive workshop at the CEC - delivered by the CEC QI Academy staff (Level 1, 1 Reserve Rd, St Leonards)
  • BYO laptop, power cord and mouse as you will create a Run Chart, Pareto Chart & a Histogram in Excel (approximately 15% of the workshop will be using Excel).
  • Several educational activities will be conducted: PDSA Coin spin game, Banana Measurement exercise, Chocolate Box audit.
  • NO LUNCH PROVIDED: In the spirit of keeping funds for the healthcare front line, the CEC will not be providing lunch for participants. Please feel free to BYO (microwaves in CEC kitchen) or visit one of the nearby cafes / food courts.

Who should attend

Any staff wanting to obtain basic knowledge on measurement for improvement and charting (in Excel) a Run chart, Pareto chart or a Histogram.


  • Free for NSW Health
  • Non-NSW Health staff $660

How to register

Go to the CEC Events Calendar, select your workshop date and complete the registration form.

Information from the following resources and websites were used to create this workshop:

  1. Lloyd Provost & Sandra Murray, "The Health Care Data Guide - Learning from Data for Improvement", Published 2011 by Jossey-Bass, USA.
  2. Langley G, Moen R, Nolan K, Nolan T, Norman C, Provost L, "The Improvement Guide, A Practical approach to Enhancing Organisational Performance", 2nd Edition. Published 2009 Jossey-Bass, USA.
  3. Neviene Torki, "Statistical Techniques - Process Improvement - The Link", Published 1992.
  4. David Moore & George McCabe, "Introduction to the Practice of Statistics" - Second Edition, Published 1993.
  5. Institute for Healthcare Improvement – particularly resources from the IHI Improvement Advisor Program (Wave 53 in 2018).
  6. NSW Health GEM Workstar – Clinical Practice Improvement module.
  7. Clinical support systems program - What is clinical practice improvement? By R. M. Wilson and B. T. Harrison from QaRNS, Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Internal Medicine Journal 2002; 32: pages 460–464.
  8. Dr Brent James – Clinical Practice Improvement Program (slides from 2000 program run by NSW Health Department).
  9. Easy Guide to Clinical Practice Improvement – A guide for healthcare professionals - NSW Health Department (published October 2002).
  10. CEC Clinician's Guide to Quality & Safety published by the Clinical Excellence Commission in 2016.
  11. CEC Masters Clinician’s Guide to Quality & Safety published by the Clinical Excellence Commission in 2018.
  12. CEC QARS & QIDS programs
  13. UK Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) website - What is clinical audit?
  14. UK Clinical Audit Support Centre
  15. Healthcare Improvement Scotland website – ihub
  16. Clinical Excellence Commission QI Academy web site

Further information – Contact

Wendy Jamieson, Senior Manager, CEC Quality Improvement Academy
Mobile: 0434 078 026