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Q’s collaborative improvement priorities: digital innovation, reducing waits and supporting integration

Q’s Managing Director Penny Pereira sets out how Q is getting to the heart of the biggest issues for our sector.

Q is here for you to connect, learn and collaborate with others across the full breadth of health and care improvement. But we know that you want to see Q, and improvement approaches, really making a difference at scale. COVID-19 showed us the pace of learning and change that is possible with a common focus and the challenges ahead call on us to pull together more than ever.

This blog shares Q’s new strategic themes: our focus over the next few years. They’ve been agreed with our partners, based on insight from the community. We’ll work with members to understand key issues and opportunities within each theme to help you make a difference in your work, and to make faster progress together to change health and care for the better.

We have a clear mission for the recovery period: to boost collaboration and improvement, for sustainable change that’s shaped and owned by those who deliver and receive care.

Collaborative improvement is at Q’s core. Our stretched services need radical change over the years ahead. This will only work with effective collaboration – bringing together skills, perspectives and actions toward common goals. We know that truly sustainable transformation needs people to own and lead change and that improvement approaches enable this.

So, through Q, we want to celebrate and support the collaborative improvement skills that you as members bring to change efforts. What I love about our mission is that it connects the ‘big picture’ challenges facing the health and care system to the daily reality of achieving service change. Successful improvement relies on people: they need to see that efforts to make health and care better are joined up and enable long term improvement. Our three themes speak to this.

Bringing improvement and digital together for sustainable change

Our first theme, focussing on the power of digital, began last year. It recognises that improvements in care are increasingly likely to have a digital component. Sustainable change needs skills and perspectives from improvement, service design, digital expertise and lived experience to come together. But we know that close working can be a challenge when people approach the same problem with different methods and language.

Sustainable change needs skills and perspectives from improvement, service design, digital expertise and lived experience to come together.

Q is helping to build bridges, and grow understanding, between these different fields. We’ll also demonstrate how improvement approaches can help to target digital solutions on the most important issues for patients, scale solutions in ways that work and adapt innovations locally.

Together, we’re already making progress. For example, we worked with members to understand what enabled the rapid roll out of video consultations during the pandemic.

Building on this insight, and boosted by our partnership with the NHSEI digital team, we are:

Our insight on video consultations brought home to me that people need to see how short-term changes relate to high quality, sustainable and equitable care to give them their full support. This insight underpins our second theme.

Reducing waiting in ways that support broader transformation goals

Delays for services are, rightly, a top issue in the UK and Ireland. We need to ensure the millions waiting for care get the support they need in ways that are sustainable and inspire the confidence of staff.

Success won’t depend on one or two big ideas. It will rely on our members and others in their thousands, testing large and small innovations and collaborating across disciplines and sectors. Your experience offers energy, optimism and solutions in the face of one of the biggest challenges facing health and care.

Our latest insight project is looking at how data is used to address backlogs in care in a way that also addresses equity. This builds on insight work and case studies we shared last year.

Over the next 12 months, Q Lab UK and Q Exchange will fund and support work in this area. And we’ll provide spaces through our events and Q’s special interest groups to help you connect and learn together.

Enabling integrated improvement across sectors

Our ambition to improve care doesn’t stop at the boundary of our organisations or sectors. This final theme will take shape over the months ahead. But we know that Q is well placed to make a difference thanks to our knowledge of collaboration and our mission to join up improvement across groups. There is opportunity for rich learning across the UK and Ireland as each country moves on a journey to greater integration.

Q brings together and helps develop both effective collaboration and practical improvement skills. This combination is critical to make sure more integrated structures actually lead to better care.

What next?

We’ll work with the community and our partners to develop the detail of these themes. I’d love to hear your thoughts, insights and examples of work we can build on. Do share or reply to this blog, or drop us a line.

The return of our annual community event this autumn is a great opportunity to explore our themes and how we can work together on them to gain maximum impact. I can’t wait. Registration opens on Wednesday so make sure you book your place soon.

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