The purpose of this paper is to explore some of the key factors that trigger and drive improvement in the NHS and in health care more widely, and to suggest what practical steps can be taken to speed it up.
The paper outlines the varied improvement drivers that impact on health care organisations today – establishing a basic understanding of the different motivating factors behind each. Building on this, the paper explores the shared attributes of successful health care improvement practice and highlights the processes and tools that are helping many frontline NHS organisations achieve faster and better improvement locally.
There are many reasons that trigger improvement efforts in the health service and most have a valid role to play. But underpinning them all are four fundamental skill and knowledge sets: leadership; performance and metrics; the right tools and processes; and relationships. One important way to unlock the potential for faster improvement in patient care is for organisations and individuals to understand the profound relevance of these four areas to their own improvement work, and to know about the tools and techniques that are proven to help.
This paper helps address the broad and recognised need across the NHS and wider health service to build service improvement capacity, capability and will. It clarifies the priority areas where organisations, clinicians, health care professionals and improvers at all levels need to develop, and it offers practical steps to help ensure this happens.
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