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As we begin a new year, we continue to see the undeniable value in energising connections and creative thinking, with innovations to improve health and care being created all the time. Accelerated by the pandemic, digital technologies are now rapidly becoming a core part of how we deliver health and care, and are key to developing a personalised, accessible health system long term.

Through Q, we are creating more opportunities for those working in improvement to collaborate with digital specialists and provide innovative digital projects a greater chance to have positive impact, sustain and spread.

Q Exchange, Q’s participatory funding programme, is one way we are doing this.

The theme

This year our Q Exchange partnership with the NHS draws on their digital health and care expertise for the theme: Bringing together the worlds and methods of improvement and digital, to enable better outcomes and faster, more sustainable change.​

​Within this, potential teams could consider projects:​

  • supporting service change, in particular the opportunity and need to enable care at home or in the community​.
  • focusing on the role digital technology can play in staff wellbeing. Staff-facing technology is within this scope, as well as enhancing the workforce’s experience of technology.​
  • focusing on the digital and improvement communities, for example looking at sharing skills and perspectives between these groups.

Through this round we want to provide resource for change, learning and to develop digital solutions. It’s also an opportunity to strengthen existing work, not just to support new projects. There is a lot of potential to redesign care through new technology, as well as converting current service models to be delivered digitally.

We’re also looking to provide resource for projects that support staff wellbeing and engagement, as well as projects for patients and service users. Finally, we’re interested in seeing work that shares learning and connections between the improvement and digital communities

Thanks to the generous contributions from the Health Foundation and the NHS, in partnership for digital health and care, we have £800,000 of funding for Q Exchange this year. This means we’re able to offer 20 projects awards of up to £40,000.

We will be opening our online platform on Tuesday 15 February 2022, for you to start generating ideas with the community.

What is Q Exchange?

Q Exchange is Q’s participatory funding programme. When we open in February, members will be invited to post ideas for projects that fit with the theme on the Q website and create online project pages. There are no limits to the number of ideas that can be submitted.

In March, during the ‘refine and submit’ stage of the application process, members are encouraged to refine ideas by commenting and offering support on the project pages and helping applicants to develop their ideas. Applicants then choose the idea they will convert into a formal proposal, and complete the additional information, by the application deadline.

Submitted proposals will be shortlisted by panels of Q members. In May, we will announce the shortlist and applicants will campaign for support from the community, who will vote on the ideas they would like to receive funding.

Why this theme?

Developing ideas through Q Exchange’s open collaboration, where bidding itself is a source of learning and support, enables people to come together and helps to build on what’s already known. It allows us to pool our skills and energy to support understanding across the worlds of improvement and digital.

Collaborating on digital change is an important part of the future of improvement. Improvement approaches have the potential to help both current and new digital technologies become more sustainable.

Through conversations with Q’s members and partners, we understand that introducing more digital innovation and working in a more integrated way is a top priority for improvement. And the people working in improvement can and need to play a pivotal role in digital change as services recover from the pandemic.

To support the development of your project ideas, we’ve produced a summary that brings together our current insight on this theme and some possible areas of interest to guide your projects. Take a look to support you to develop ideas and consider what will help you get the most from your project.

Q Exchange 4: insight summary for applicants
Q Exchange 4: insight summary for applicants

What happens next?

We are excited by the potential for Q Exchange this year and look forward to seeing a range of projects come to life. So, get your thinking caps on!

Q Exchange opens for initial ideas on Tuesday 15 February 2022. Join a workshop on Tuesday 8 February 2022, 12.30 – 13.30 to help you navigate the application process.

Find out more about Q Exchange and register for the workshop.


  1. Guest

    George Coxon 4 months, 1 week ago

    We see these invitations from time to time.  80% plus of care homes are small often family run services lacking huge capacity to make the time to bid for support from schemes like these

    Id be keen to ask for a small amount of funding to do something rewarding for my staff   But really am not sure what could be possible.  Can you advise and help us be a test bed to inspire others SME care homes to be part of what could be so beneficial to my staff

    1. George, I like your idea. Maybe a collaborative bid with your local Trust or with an idea that is relevant to you - when they are posted in Feb. you may find one.

  2. Hi - really interested in this opportunity.  Sadly, I am double-booked for today's 12:30 information session, and I don't think I will be able to make it.  Could you advise if the session will be recorded and uploaded?  Thank you.  Richard

  3. Guest

    Dr Jacqui Lovell 3 months, 2 weeks ago

    Sadly I was not able to make the workshop, can you tell me if a recording will be available online please?

  4. Guest

    Patricia Rowland 3 months, 2 weeks ago

    I am looking at getting an APP developed for our Directorates, Safe Care Clinical Handbook for staff to use and refer too when giving patient care .This book contains important reference information around Frailty Indicators ,deteriorating patient, trouble shooting for blocked catheters and much more Clinical support and guidance for our staff to be able to deliver the best care and outcomes to our patients.

    I have only found out today regarding the workshop on the 8th Fe 2022.

  5. Good afternoon!!

    I am sending this to ask a question that may sound a bit silly, apologies in advance.

    We are currently running a project in Plymouth between one of the Surgeries, Diabetology and Mental Health which we think that it would be great to present and develop further with some additional funding.

    My question is whether we could apply for this as I am the only Q-Community member of the project team.

    I will be looking forward to hearing what people think, many thanks in advance!!!

  6. I would love to obtain funding to help with the work we are doing on an open source and modular digitised and automated lung cancer pathway in Gloucestershire. I will apply shortly

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