In a continuously changing political environment, meeting the needs of multiple regulators can be an uphill struggle. Resources are stretched and people-power has change-fatigue. So many organisations are looking to make this process more efficient for their staff at every level.
In the UK, the publication of the NHS 10-year plan has given greater emphasis on embedding quality improvement in the culture of organisations, and regulators are looking to see whole organisation involvement in this process through the NHS Improvement well-led framework.
Many NHS organisations that we work with have now evidenced that focussing the whole organisation's efforts on robust quality improvement methodology, systematic reporting and management of QI helps to achieve these regulatory goals.
Here are some examples from the well-led framework criteria which may help you with what is required on your journey to improve regulatory compliance:
1. Is there the leadership capacity and capability to deliver high quality sustainable care?
The Care Quality Commission (the health and social care regulator in England) inspection teams are required to assess the “presence and maturity of a quality improvement (QI) approach within a provider organisation” as part of their compliance. Making the decision to embed quality improvement methodology organisation-wide is usually something that is taken at Board level but relies on the whole organisation to be successful.
The Kings Fund and Health Foundation have developed 10 lessons for NHS leaders who are looking to embed quality improvement in their organisation:
- Make quality improvement a leadership priority for Boards.
- Share responsibility for quality improvement with leaders at all levels.
- Don’t look for magic bullets or quick fixes.
- Develop the skills and capabilities for improvement.
- Have a consistent and coherent approach to quality improvement.
- Use data effectively.
- Focus on relationships and culture.
- Enable and support front-line staff to engage in quality improvement.
- Involve patients, service users and carers.
- Work as a system.
In this short video Helen Lee from Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust explains how Life QI is making it easy for their front-line staff to engage in quality improvement:
2. Is there a clear vision and credible strategy to deliver high quality sustainable care to people and robust plans to deliver it?
In 2013 the Kings Fund wrote that "for high-quality care there needs to be a vision for quality at every level of the system: regulatory, board and team". This needs to be transferred into realistic objectives with quality and safety as the two main priority areas.
More recently in May of this year the Health Foundation published their report ‘the improvement journey’ which also highlights the importance of embedding quality improvement within the organisation's culture.
An NHS organisation that has successfully embedded QI within their organisation is Central North West London Foundation Trust. Click the image to read more ...
3. Is appropriate and accurate information being effectively processed, challenged and acted on?
Ross and Naylors 2017 report advises that it doesn’t matter which quality improvement methodology an organisation chooses, whether it is the IHI Model for Improvement, Lean or Six Sigma, the important bit is methodically and systematically evidencing and reporting quality improvement to help your organisation reach or improve their compliance rating.
Through the use of Life QI, provider organisations can demonstrate a consistent and systematic method to lead improvement initiatives across the organisation and evidence the solutions discovered to complex problems. To find out more check out how East London Foundation Trust (ELFT) use Life QI as part of their everyday routine.
4. Are the people who use the services, the public, staff and external partners engaged and involved to support high quality and sustainable services?
In 2014 Sir Bruce Keough held an independent review into hospital deaths which led to some of the 14 Trusts being placed in special measures. Their journey to improvement and compliance can be found on the CQC website. Since the publication of this report all of the case study Trusts have become Life QI users and the system is supporting their compliance improvement.
Their stories and experiences are invaluable in highlighting some of the characteristics and behaviours which are required for sometimes drastic improvement:
“Many of the stories point to the importance of forging a strong connection between senior leaders and frontline staff. Shared vision and values, staff engagement and empowerment and patient involvement all emerge as crucial elements of the improvement journey.”
We have had similar feedback from the Trusts we work with:
"We needed a way to allow everyone to contribute and get involved and share their ideas and be able to learn from each other, and for that purpose quality improvement is an amazing way to harness the assets and strengths that everyone has to bring and align that with the priorities that we set as an organisation." Dr Amar Shah, CQO, East London Foundation Trust.
5. Are there robust systems and processes for learning, continuous improvement and innovation?
Our customers have evidenced that part of the answer to this is using Life QI. It provides an innovative platform for collaboration, information sharing, improvement and reporting. Because teams can often be spread over different geographical locations, a cloud-based system continues to meet their needs as their teams grow.
To find out more click here.