CQI-Chapter #03 - Root Cause Analysis in Quality Improvement


Study of the information presented in this chapter will enable the learner to:

  1. Define root cause analysis (RCA).
  2. Identify 5 basic elements of a process.
  3. List 3 general principles of root cause analysis.
  4. Describe 5 steps in conducting a root cause analysis.
  5. Illustrate causal factor charting.

Root cause analysis (RCA) is a systematic investigation that looks into an identified event or undesirable outcome. This allows the investigator(s) and other involved parties to "dig deeper" in order to better understand the fundamental or "root cause" of the problem. The purpose of RCA is to determine what happened, how it happened, why it happened, and what actions can be implemented to reduce the likelihood of a recurrence.