Jim Easton, NHS national director of efficiency and improvement, is calling on the NHS to work together to find solutions to local healthcare challenges by sharing examples of good practice in effective measurement.
He explained that learning from local successes – not looking to central Government for answers – will be the only effective way to learn how to track quality improvements and cost savings.
Examples of good practice can be submitted to a new web-based Measurement for Quality and Cost Ideas Channel, being launched today. The channel, which will be hosted by the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, will capture all the submissions of evidence-based good practice and insight in one place so that they can be shared and adopted across the NHS.
Jim Easton said: “Delivering improved quality care against a difficult cost backdrop is not going to be easy so it is vital that we know whether we are being successful or not. To do this we need to be able to measure our work at every level to show that we are making quality improvements and cost savings at every step of the way.
“Effective measurement will be crucial in providing us with the benchmarks we need to help us understand where we need to start from, where we are now and where we need to be so that we start moving away from a top-down approach to one where what is happening at a local level will increasingly help inform and shape the provision of quality care.”
Mike Davidge, head of measurement at the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, agreed: “Measurement at local level is the key. We need to be able to determine early on whether something is working or not and change tack if need be rather than find out afterwards that a service is not delivering quality care or is not viable cost wise.
“However, many people are unsure about what to measure, how to measure it and whether they are going about it in the right way. The Ideas Channel will be a resource that they can draw from – it’s not just about learning from local successes as to what works and what doesn’t, it’s also about identifying the best metrics and the type of data we want to capture.”
The NHS Institute is encouraging all NHS organisations to submit examples including effective ways of measuring patient and staff experience and satisfaction, safety, clinical outcomes, prevention, population health and staff productivity.
The call to arms follows a recent web seminar involving 100 people and subsequent report: Measurement for Quality and Cost: Challenges, examples of success and working collectively which showed that the main barrier to effective measurement was perceived as a lack of clarification about the definition of what is meant by ‘measurement’ as well as a lack of practical skills, time and understanding of the value and benefits. The group also cited many examples of excellent practice where measurement systems had an impact on improving care such as:
- A reduction in referrals of false positives for glaucoma patients to secondary care leading to subsequent savings at NHS Nottingham City
- A significant reduction in absconsions at a mental health service for older people at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust leading to better care.
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