Improving improvement | Q Community – Co-designing a systems approach to managing complexity in Healthcare Improvement


Improving improvement | Q Community

Improving improvement

Co-designing a systems approach to managing complexity in Healthcare Improvement – building on the landmark report, Engineering Better Care, together we can develop the power to tame wicked problems.Download Idea as PDF  Print Idea Read comments 27 Project updates 2

  • Winning idea
  • 2019

Meet the team

What is the challenge your project is going to address and how does it connect to your chosen theme?

“The UK’s health and social care system is, appropriately, one of our most treasured national assets. However, the sheer size and complexity of the system, as well as the pressures it faces from an ageing population and finite resources, mean that making improvements to health and care can be a significant challenge. Successful transformation must take into account the needs of all patients, carers, healthcare professionals and other staff. It requires consistent consideration of every element of the system, the way each element interacts, and the implications of these interactions for the system as a whole – that is, it requires a ‘systems’ approach.” This comment from the foreword of Engineering Better Care echoes a number of key global reports and advocates the need to describe a systems approach to design and continuous improvement, to build on current practice and bring renewed focus onpeople, systems, designand riskas vital perspectives in the improvement of complex systems.

What does your project aim to achieve?

Engineering Better Care sought to co-design a systems approach to health and care design and continuous improvement by bringing together improvers, healthcare providers and systems engineers in a series of workshops to define a common language for improvement. The resulting approach, based on a series of simple questions, formed the basis of a landmark report from the Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal College of Physicians and the Academy of Medical Sciences. This project aims to take this work further, co-designing a systems approach toolkit with health and care improvers, based on a prototype developed by the University of Cambridge. The main objective is to create a toolkit, owned by the improvement community, that shares ideas and good practice in taking a systems approach to improvement. This will be achieved by building an active, self-sustaining forum for discussion, learning and sharing where success is measured by interaction with the toolkit and stories of its use.

How will the project be delivered?

The core team will run a series of face-to-face workshops, site visits, online debates and forums to encourage improvers to share experiences of improvement. Particular attention will be paid to the improvement frameworks and approaches used and their accompanying activities and tools, the choices made in their deployment and the top tips for achieving success or avoiding failure. Q members will be asked to describe new tools, add references to existing tools, provide rationale for their tool choices and examples of their use. Stories will provide the basis of members’ narratives and a culture for sharing stories will be actively supported and encouraged as the primary mechanism for improving improvement. The core team have significant experience of facilitating improvement and working with Q members and the improvement community. The risk of poor engagement will be mitigated by identifying members from the early Engineering Better Care workshops to assist in building the community.

What and how is your project going to share learning throughout?

The project will deliver a toolkit, based on the Engineering Better Care prototype that provides guidance on a systems approach to improvement. This will be a dynamic resource ‘owned’ by the Q members, updated and choreographed by the core team. The project will also deliver a forum and events to encourage such ownership and a culture of storytelling to sustain the development of case studies which will add insight as to the use of systems tools and the value of using a systems approach. The toolkit and its associated guidance and resources will be made freely available to a Q members.

How you can contribute

  • Ideas for resources to include in a systems toolkit
  • Identification of existing improvement toolkits that work
  • Discussion on the best means to encourage toolkit ownership in a busy world
  • Identification of core team members

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Improving improvement | Q Community