What does it mean when an organisation says we do QI?
Aren’t we all in the business of improving things? Yes, but I think there is something unique about referring to QI whether you think of it just as a concept, a framework, a process, a handy name to ensure we are all thinking about the same thing, a training programme, or an identifiable culture. To me, when an organisation says “we do QI”, it means:
People: We have some people who have experience, skills and knowledge to lead improvement within their services and support others with QI.
Training opportunities: There is a range of training opportunities suited to learning style and need. Beyond the training, we provide support to help you deliver your initiative and improvement. This is also a pathway for developing your QI experience and personal reach within and beyond the organisation.
An approach: We have a structure with some key topics that we like to consider;
Are you involving the right staff and patients in this?
What does the literature say?
Is your aim clear and achievable?
Who is going to lead and support this?
Do you have some data that you understand and can check against to see if things have improved?
Do you have the facility and can invest time to try out potential improvements?
How will you keep this going and sustain improvements?
How are you going to share what you learn and improve so others can benefit from your work?
Resources: We have a set of specific tools which you can use that are easily accessible and will encourage you to think more creatively and collaboratively.
Networks: We link our work with other areas in the organisation to help us identify priorities and share good practice. We are part of a larger group of people doing and sharing QI work in healthcare.
Leadership: We have the support and interest of our organisational leaders and will help you engage with them.
For us in the Academy, QI links with our other workstreams in a logical way.
Lets imagine a service is trying to improve the service we offer for people with Parkinsons Disease.
Utilising our Library, Knowledge service and NICE Guidance would enable the service to identify what the best evidence is for the care of people with Parkinson’s Disease.
Our patient involvement and engagement team would support the service to ask people with Parkinsons and their carers about their experience, what is important to them and include them in the co-production of new ways of working.
Our clinical audit programme would provide data on the extent to which we are following current guidance whilst service evaluations would measure things like patient outcomes and experience from treatment, including any new ways of working we introduce.
Our QI programme could then take this information, identify the key issues to address and with the right people around the table start looking at potential improvements.
All of this would be set up in such a way so that a culture of continuous improvement would be sustained for the future.
With this knowledge and experience behind them, the Parkinsons disease service would be in a good position to start looking at research for new ways of working which could include patients and services outside of our own.
We would hope this would lead to better experience, outcomes, and safety from care for patients, better satisfaction, career development and retention for staff and overall, more effective and better-quality ways of working.