Quality Improvement (QI) ...

consists of systematic and continuous actions that lead to measurable improvement in health care services and the patient outcomes.

In the NHS, quality improvement is about achieving the following priorities: 

• Improving safety and reducing avoidable harm 

• Delivery patient centred services and improving patient and family experience of care 

• Improving clinical effectiveness and demonstrating delivery of best outcomes of care 

• Improving efficiency and productivity – reducing wait times and waste 

• Demonstrating improvement 

• Demonstrating an organisation that listens and learns 

Focus on Patients

An important measure of quality is the extent to which patients' needs and expectations are met. Services that are designed to meet the needs and expectations of patients and their community include:

  • Systems that affect patient access

  • Care provision that is evidence-based

  • Patient safety

  • Support for patient engagement

  • Coordination of care with other parts of the larger health care system

  • Cultural competence, including assessing health literacy of patients, patient-centered communication, and linguistically appropriate care

What is in it for me?

Patient safety is at the forefront of the minds of all healthcare professionals including Doctors. Events of the last few years have taught us the importance of safe, compassionate care and how all involved in the provision of healthcare must make it their responsibility to ensure the highest quality of care. By identifying and improving on inefficiencies and potential compromises in patient safety, all doctors can play their part in maximizing quality in the healthcare environment.

Involvement in QI projects/ activity is already a mandatory item on the curriculum for most training schemes, for example, the “Learning to Make a Difference” programme in Core Medical Training. It is also an important part of any portfolio or job application, not even mentioning revalidation.

Following CCT, evidence of involvement in Risk Assessment, Patient Safety and Quality Improvement activity will help to maximize the chances of gaining a Consultant post.

Plus…

Publications BMJ Quality Improvement Reports
Presentations

Local (QI Academy Annual Conference and Awards)

National/ International (International Forum on Quality & Safety in Healthcare, The Network's Casebook Presentation, DAPS-RSM Annual Conference SGH Patient Safety Week, Patient Safety Congress, NACT Conference, FMLM, Junior Doctors QIPOTY, etc.)

Education
Evidence of Management/ Leadership for your portfolio

What is Quality? What are we aiming for?

Quality, in healthcare, is made up of 6 main areas, which must all be addressed and hopefully optimized in order to provide the best possible standard of care to our patients. By remembering these 6 areas we can identify potential areas for improvement and assess any improvement we have made (Institute of Medicine - Measuring the quality of health care).

Safe:
avoiding injuries to patients from the care that is intended to help them.

Effective:
providing services based on scientific knowledge to all who could benefit and refraining from providing services to those not likely to benefit. 

Patient centred:
providing care that is respectful of and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs, and values and ensuring that patient values guide all clinical decisions. 

Timely:
reducing waits and sometimes harmful delays for both those who receive and those who give care. 

Efficient:
avoiding waste, including waste of equipment, supplies, ideas, and energy. 

Equitable:
providing care that does not vary in quality because of personal characteristics such as sex, ethnicity, geographical location, and socioeconomic status.