With the aim of examining current and potential practice in relation to soft intelligence, the authors conducted and analysed 107 in-depth qualitative interviews with senior leaders, including managers and clinicians, involved in healthcare quality and safety in the English National Health Service. This study, published by Science Direct, found that participants were in little doubt about the value of softer forms of data, especially for their role in revealing troubling issues that might be obscured by conventional metrics.
- There are calls for greater use of ‘soft’ intelligence around quality and safety.
- Little research examines the challenges and opportunities soft data present.
- This study in the English NHS found clinicians and managers saw utility in soft data.
- Dominant approaches to interpretation risked obscuring their greatest value.
- Soft data might better be used to disrupt understanding and challenge consensus.