top five reasons why healthcare quality improvement (QI) is vital in light of the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR)
Wednesday 20th October 2010
Improving healthcare quality is key to achieving economies: cheaper care can mean better care, says Robin Burgess, CEO of HQIP (Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership)
Burgess looks at the top five reasons why healthcare quality improvement (QI) is vital in light of the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR).
About HQIP: Since its formation in 2008, HQIP has been charged with leading re-invigoration of clinical audit and other healthcare quality improvement activity. Its work includes managing the National Audit and Patient Outcomes Programme (NCAPOP) on behalf of the Department of Health and the National Joint Registry of England and Wales (NJR). NCAPOP is recognised as the leading monitor of NHS healthcare standards across 30 different conditions, while the NJR is the world’s largest database and monitoring system of hip, knee and ankle replacement procedures.
1. QI continues, although funding may be static and organisations changing. HQIP will work with whatever structure the Department of Health introduces
The spending review, changes to the structure of the NHS and the related reform of Department of Health public bodies changes the landscape of provision of health care and support to those who provider healthcare. Whatever the landscape, and whatever the funding available, the need to focus on quality remains.
These changes do not represent any turn away from the focus on quality; improving quality is still the driving feature of the modern NHS. HQIP will continue to work to support the improvement of quality within this changed landscape in support of the Department.
The new landscape presents opportunities for new, radical approaches to improving quality – such as under GP leadership at local level.
2. QI saves money
Providers and commissioners should both see that quality improvement is part of the solution, not the problem; part of the answer, not part of the challenge.
Improving quality is a way of achieving economies. Better care is cheaper care, where procedures are streamlined, unnecessary tests not carried out, simpler clinical procedures in line with evidence applied, and interventions help people stay out of hospital or do not re-present because their needs have been met. Quality improvement approaches such as clinical audit recoup their cost many times over where they point out changes that will benefit patients through more effective care.
3. Local providers and commissioners should not cut spending on quality improvement activity for short-term gain
In the new climate, where greater financial discipline will be required, continuing investment in activity that promotes quality is essential. Managers should consider the long term effects of quick fixes derived from cuts in quality improvement.
Whilst superficially a solution, in practice cuts in QI provision will not only lead to reduction in quality, they will lead to failure to identify areas where quality can be maintained and possible economies achieved.
4. HQIP is open to new challenges, and well placed to support effective QI
HQIP focuses on clinically-led QI programmes that use scientific, data-led methods to identify changes needed and then to act on them. Through our links to professional bodies, HQIP is well placed to marshal support for continuing QI work within the new structures. For example we work closely with the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).
By continuing to stress that QI is part of being a professional clinician, HQIP stresses the need to continue to focus on these issues, not step back from them because the climate is tough. HQIP, because it covers all professional groups, is the only uniquely cross disciplinary group on quality.
As new opportunities arise to promote quality, using new methods, HQIP will step up to the challenges put to us. If the abolition of some existing bodies mean that areas of value need a home, we are keen to take approaches on that relate closely to our mission described above.
5. HQIP shares the desire to make clinicians accountable and to work with patients to improve quality
We believe clinicians and the organisations that employ them should publish their data about clinical quality, where this is meaningful and understandable.
HQIP will be launching a groundbreaking new online tool to show participation data on how and if provider Trusts participate in national clinical audit in January 2011, allowing simple access for patients, public and professionals alike for the first time.
If you would like further information or would like to speak to Robin Burgess please call Becky Maurice-Cohen or Madalene Whitson on 01442 245030.
Note to Editors
Robin Burgess has been CEO of HQIP (Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership) since its formation in 2008. HQIP is charged with leading re-invigoration of clinical audit and other healthcare quality improvement activity. Its work includes managing the National Audit and Patient Outcomes Programme (NCAPOP) on behalf of the Department of Health and the National Joint Registry of England and Wales (NJR). NCAPOP is recognised as the leading monitor of NHS healthcare standards across 30 different conditions, while the NJR is the world’s largest database and monitoring system of hip, knee and ankle replacement procedures.
Specialist areas: Clinical audit, healthcare quality. Previous career: substance misuse, policing, neighbourhood renewal, homelessness and problem gambling
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