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Innovation and quality improvement

This module seeks to define quality in healthcare, how it can be measured and how quality improvement might effectively be adopted into the culture of everyday healthcare delivery.

You are advised to have commenced study of the Accounting and Finance module before commencing study of this module.

In its broadest sense, healthcare quality improvement (QI) methods can be applied to patient populations, individual patients or address the reduction in per capita healthcare costs. The module provides a robust understanding of QI methods and the ways in which they can be embedded in professional culture. It has a particular focus on the important differences that exist between traditional research methods and improvement science.

Through the use of real-world examples students will be introduced to common methods used in improvement science, gain an understanding of intervention designs, data display and analytical interpretation. Students will be encouraged to consider the challenges of real-world interventions and introduced to strategies for effective change management.

Topics covered

  • Introduction to healthcare leadership
  • Definitions of quality and the rationale for QI
  • Priority setting in QI
  • Human factors and error
  • Person and professional-centred healthcare involvement in improvement
  • Measurement of outcomes
  • Organisational culture and change management
  • Improvement methodologies and the PDSA cycle
  • Introduction to healthcare analytics
  • Digital health interventions

Learning outcomes

If you complete the module successfully, you should be able to:

  • critically evaluate the impact of healthcare leadership on a range of clinical and operational outcomes, and reflect on how leadership approaches differ around the world.
  • analyse the relationship between leadership and patient safety, and how leadership relates to QI.
  • evaluate the similarities and differences between individual and organisation priority setting in QI.
  • assess the role human factors play in medical error, and describe the effect they have on system design.
  • contrast different types of measures used in QI, and compare their relative strengths and weaknesses.
  • demonstrate how to petition change within an organisational structure to sustain and spread improvement interventions.
  • appraise current policies and approaches in healthcare QI methodologies.
  • apply the Model for Improvement as a framework to healthcare improvement projects, including the use of the Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA) cycle.
  • demonstrate how analytical techniques can support QI initiatives.
  • formulate a fully annotated run chart and describe the basis of statistical process control.
  • evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of digital health interventions, including implications for development, implementation, and evaluation.
  • assess the role of government, non-governmental organisations, managers, purchasers, professionals and patients in QI initiatives.
  • critically analyse the role of patient reported outcome measures in research, clinical practice, and quality management.
  • critically appraise one chosen QI approach/tool for promoting quality in their own organisational context.
  • create and undertake a QI project, assess critically its impact and conclude recommendations for appropriate action to bring about change.


Coursework (50% weighting):

There is one item of coursework for this module which contributes to the final assessment mark for this module:

Coursework: a written portfolio of improvement and innovation cases.

Examination (50% weighting):

The final piece of assessment will be an unseen written examination of two hours' duration.