Paul Batalden has defined quality improvement as: “the combined and unceasing efforts of everyone – healthcare professionals, patients and their families, researchers, payers, planners and educators – to make the changes that will lead to better patient outcomes (health), better system performance (care) and better professional development (learning)”.
Quality improvement (QI) goes beyond traditional management, target setting and policy making. QI methodology is best applied when tackling complex adaptive problems – where the problem isn’t completely understood and where the answer isn’t known – for example, how to reduce frequency of violence on inpatient mental health wards. QI utilises the subject matter expertise of people closest to the issue – staff and service users – to identify potential solutions and test them.
East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT) is a provider of mental health and community services, to a population of approximately 1.5 million people, mainly across East London, Bedfordshire and Luton.
ELFT's Quality Improvement website provides many resources, as well as their QI projects, events and training.