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Virtual network to design quality and patient safety surveillance system

Establishing a virtual network providing an opportunity for all stakeholders to co-design a national Quality Patient Safety Surveillance System that is fit for their different purposes e.g. improvement, prioritization, assurance

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  • Proposal
  • 2022

Meet the team


  • Emma Hogan
  • Marcella O'Dowd
  • Lorraine Schwanberg
  • Florina Rizoaica
  • Stephen Barrett

What is the challenge your project is going to address and how does it connect to the theme?

HSE have commenced establishing a digitally enabled Quality and Patient Safety (QPS) Surveillance System (QPSSS) to integrate and triangulate existing QPS datasets and information to  detect variation in quality and safety of  care, as  QPS and clinical leads have identified difficulties in what and how to access information as a major barrier to high quality care.

Signalling the system of unexplained variation is only useful however, if the people who use, deliver, support and manage these services are engaged in interrogating and responding to these signals.

The challenge is to co-create our QPSSS with diverse and geographically dispersed people, so  that intelligence produced is useful e.g. as a catalyst for improvement, for prioritising risks, or enabling data-driven assurance. Our proposal is to leverage the Q Community Special Interest Group platform to establish a QPSSS Network, combined with video-conferencing technology to host  sessions to co-design, implement and evaluate the QPSSS programme.

What does your project aim to achieve?

Our project aim is to create a transformational network (Holley, 2012) of people who are committed to evidence-based improvement and who will co-create a national Quality and Patient Safety Surveillance System.

Our objectives are to

1.      Convene a virtual network of a wide range of stakeholders from patients to board members, who are committed to designing a QPSSS fit for their purposes

2.      Use best evidence and learning from Q to create a transformational network

3.      Utilise the Q Community platform as the hub where materials, resources, outputs etc. can be uploaded and accessible for network members to review and feedback-on at their convenience.

4.      Develop this network into a community of practice, who are engaged with and value the QPSSS programme because it was designed by them in order to meet their quality and patient safety intelligence needs.

How will the project be delivered?

The QPSSS programme is being implemented by the National Quality and Patient Safety Directorate (NQPSD), who have expertise in QI methods, project management and implementation science. The success of this Q Exchange proposal would enable us to contract a consultant with expertise in establishing and managing transformational networks. This would elevate our engagement and communication plan beyond design workshops, towards creating a community of practice who can support the sustained use and evolution of the Quality and Patient Safety Surveillance System.

We will host at least 10 online-sessions within this 12 month project (approx. Sep22-Sep23). This timeframe aligns with the define, design, develop and test phases of the QPSSS programme.

To add rigour to our methodology and a focus on international best-practice we are partnering with academic experts and the Q exchange funding will allow us to employ a Research Assistant to evaluate the project.

How is your project going to share learning?

The WHO Global Patient Safety Action Plan 2021-2030 calls for countries to ‘Establish, synergise and scale-up patient safety surveillance systems ’. It is recommended that a Patient Safety Network should be established to generate the “synergy” within the system to detect and interrogate signals produced. The evidence base for quality and/or patient safety surveillance systems, and the use of networks to support them, is in its infancy. Creating Ireland’s QPSSS Network as a Q Exchange project would give the project team access to the ideas, knowledge and experience of the Q Community and conversely, it would allow the Q Community to learn from the Irish experience.

The project will be presented as a QPSTalktime session and regular updates shared via NQPSD twitter account and the QCommunity website. It is also intended that the learnings from this project will be written-up for academic publication to share learning widely.

How you can contribute

  • insights on developing and sustaining networks and communities of practice, using virtual platforms
  • insights from experience developing safety surveillance systems
  • insights from using safety surveillance systems

Plan timeline

1 Aug 2022 Commence recruitment of RA and network expert
1 Sep 2022 Evaluation ongoing throughout project
1 Sep 2022 Network planning phase
1 Sep 2022 Project kick off
1 Nov 2022 Network workshops commence
1 Sep 2023 Transition to sustain phase/ community of practice


  1. This project idea looked great and unfortunate that it hasn't progressed further. If you do get funded and start the work, happy to be involved from the point of QI leaders as needed in the work.

    I wondered if may support?


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