QI Tips: A Formula for Developing a Great Aim Statement

Posted July 22, 2015 by NICHQ

QI Tips: Aim StatementAn aim statement is a clear, explicit summary of what your team hopes to achieve over a specific amount of time including the magnitude of change you will achieve. The aim statement guides your work by establishing what success looks like.

Research shows teams who develop a good aim perform better. A good aim statement captures the voice of the customer, of those we serve. It provides alignment of multiple stakeholders, helps keep the team focused on the tasks at hand, creates the urgency to accomplish the goal, provides a vision of what success looks like, and serves as a predictor of success.

Here’s some guidance on how to write a great aim statement. First, consider:

  • The concrete goals you want to achieve
  • Who will benefit from this improvement? Whose interests are served?
  • What will be done? Is it supported by evidence or experience?
  • Where will the change occur?
  • When will it start and stop?
  • What are the boundaries of the processes? What is in, what is out?
With your answers in mind, use the grid below to help you develop an aim statement. Answer “what,” “for whom,” “by when,” and “how much,” then put it all together into a full statement.

For whom?  
By when?  
How much?  
Full statement   

Example Aim Statement 1
What?  Improve the condition of constipation
For whom? Children (and their families) in our clinic on the Autism Disorder Spectrum who suffer from constipation
By when? December 2015
How much? 1) > 90% of these children will have pain free stools that are soft and move their bowels at least five times a week
2) Increased satisfaction of family members managing constipation
Full statement By December 2015, we, The Greatest Care in the World Clinic, will improve the condition of children in our clinic on the Autism Disorder Spectrum who suffer from constipation. Ninety percent or more of these children will have pain free stools that are soft and move their bowels at least five times a week. Families will report increased satisfaction in managing their child’s constipation.

Example Aim Statement 2
What?  Create sustainable strategies to improve asthma prevention across our community
For whom? 10 public elementary schools within the local county
By when? June 30, 2016
How much? 30 percent of public schools will have staff trained in asthma prevention; 40 percent of public schools will have at least one professional who is trained to provide education to students with asthma and their families; 40 percent of public schools will have programs to outreach to parents to increase awareness of the impact of second-hand smoke.
Full statement By June 30, 2016, we will create sustainable strategies to improve asthma prevention across our community. Within our target of 10 public elementary schools in the local county, 30 percent will have staff trained in asthma prevention, 40 percent will have at least one professional who is trained to provide education to students with asthma and their families, and 40 percent will have programs to outreach to parents to increase awareness of the impact of second-hand smoke.


More QI Tips are available in the Resources section of the NICHQ website.


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