Discrete Problems


Discrete problems may be more difficult to identify. Even though they may occur within a system, they could affect only a small part of the entire system.


For example, the problem may:

  • reflect an isolated incident;
  • affect a small number of individuals or staff;
  • be present at one time or a limited number of times; or
  • be present in various locations.


When there are minor or few problems within a system, then the violation/deficiency may be related to a discrete problem, rather than a systemic problem. It is imperative that the facility examine all problems carefully to determine whether there is a system failure before assuming the problem is discrete. Even relatively isolated problems could stem from a systemic problem.