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Root cause analysis (RCA) is a collective term that describes a wide range of approaches, tools and techniques used to uncover causes of problems. 

Some RCA approaches are geared more toward identifying true root causes than others, some are more general problem-solving techniques, and others simply offer support for the core activity of root cause analysis.

Root cause analysis can be traced to the broader field of total quality management (TQM). TQM has developed in different directions, including a number of problem analysis, problem-solving and root cause analysis.

Root cause analysis is part of a more general problem-solving process and an integral part of continuous improvement. Because of this, root cause analysis is one of the core building blocks in an organization’s continuous improvement efforts.

There are many approaches to root cause analysis, such as:

  • Change analysis — This approach is applicable to situations where a system’s performance has shifted significantly. It explores changes made in people, equipment, information, and more that may have contributed to the change in performance.
  • Barrier analysis — This technique focuses on what controls are in place in the process to either prevent or detect a problem, and which might have failed.
  • Management oversight and risk tree analysis  One aspect of this approach is the use of a tree diagram to look at what occurred and why it might have occurred.
  • Kepner-Tregoe problem-solving and Decision Making –This model provides four distinct phases for resolving problems: Situation analysis, Problem analysis, Solution analysis, Potential problem analysis.

Unlike other methodologies, root cause analysis (RCA) is generally more successful when there’s a small, focused team involved in looking for answers.

It’s not unusual to have a supervisor lead an RCA team composed of communication staff, research staff and personnel from the department or departments being affected by a serious problem.

Want to learn more? Tonex offers Tonex offers nearly three dozen courses in Root Cause Analysis Training. Some of our classes include:

Brainstorming Training (2 days)

Root Cause Analysis Training for Healthcare Professionals (3 days)

CAPA Management Training (4 days)

Problem-Solving Training Certificate (2 days)

Root Cause Analysis Training Crash Course (4 days)

For more information, questions, comments, contact us.

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