Root Cause Analysis

4. Planning Your Improvements: Root Cause Analysis

What is it and how can it help me?

Root cause analysis is a structured process that with assist you in determining the causes of a problem and either remove or counteract them. It seeks to identify the origin of a problem using a specific set of steps, with associated tools, to find the primary cause of the problem, so that you can:

  • Determine what happened.
  • Determine why it happened.
  • Figure out what to do to reduce the likelihood that it will happen again.

Where can I find out more information?

Quality and Service Improvement Tools: Root Cause Analysis Using Five Whys
NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement

A description of what Root Cause Analysis is with examples of how to use the 5 Whys. This resource page also includes links to further resources. >

Fishbone / Cause and Effect Instruction
Health Quality Ontario

Instructions to create a Fishbone diagram to help identify the potential root causes contributing to an issue. >

Fishbone Diagram Tool: Cause and Effect Template
Health Quality Ontario

Use this template to create a Fishbone diagram. >

Root Cause Analysis PowerPoint Presentation
The Air University

Describe what Root Cause Analysis is and how it can be used. >

5 Whys YouTube Video (4 min)
2020 Delivery Academy

A video presentation on how to use the 5 Whys to discover the root causes underlying an issue. >