For nearly ten years, the Health Foundation has been working with the NHS to deliver improvement through service and staff development programmes.
In a unique contribution to advancing the field of improvement, the Health Foundation has ensured that each of our improvement programmes is evaluated. We evaluate our programmes to provide sound evidence of their impact, and to better understand how it has been achieved.
In 2011, a team of researchers undertook a synthesis of learning from 14 of the Health Foundation’s improvement programme evaluations and set the learning in the context of the wider literature. They looked at the factors that affected the likelihood of improvement methods being applied and new interventions adopted.
The researchers organised their analysis within three broad themes:
Within these themes, they identified 10 key challenges to improvement that consistently emerged in the programmes evaluated:
This report explores these challenges, and suggests ways to overcome them. It shows that if you take the time to get an intervention’s theory of change, measurement and stakeholder engagement right, this will deliver the enthusiasm, momentum and profound results that characterise improvement at its best.