Key points

  • This guide focuses on quality improvement, and is especially useful for health care staff leading fast and efficient service change as a result of the pandemic. 
  • Quality improvement involves the use of a systematic and coordinated approach to solving a problem using specific methods and tools with the aim of bringing about a measurable improvement within a health care setting.

Improving quality is about making health care safe, effective, patient-centred, timely, efficient and equitable. It’s about giving the people closest to problems affecting care quality the time, permission, skills and resources they need to solve them. In the history of the NHS, there has never been a greater focus on improving the quality of health services.

As we shift from the emergency phase of COVID-19 it is vital that health and care workforces are able and supported to lead radical service change and improvements through re-starting, re-designing or developing new processes, pathways and services. 

This guide offers an explanation of some popular approaches used to improve quality, including where they have come from, their underlying principles and their efficacy and applicability within the healthcare arena. It also describes the factors that can help to ensure the successful use of these approaches and methods. to improve the quality of care processes, pathways and services.

It is written for a general health care audience and will be most useful for those new to the field of quality improvement, or those wanting to be reminded of the key points.

First published in 2013 and updated in 2021, this is the third edition of Quality improvement made simple. The third edition was updated on 19 May 2021 to reflect NHSEI's newly published definition of quality.

Event

Webinar: Tech and NHS recovery – what you should know

Event

How can technological innovation help speed the recovery of the NHS and sustain high quality care in...

Further reading

Blog

COVID-19 recovery: opportunities for building a relational approach to quality improvement

12 May 2021
Blog

Public health specialty registrar Dr Esther Kwong reflects on her personal experience of using...

Long read

Securing a positive health care technology legacy from COVID-19

About 21 mins to read

Long read

During the pandemic, the NHS has rolled out technologies at impressive speed. But what will need...

Learning report

The improvement journey

May 2019
Learning report

A learning report explaining why improvement in health care matters, and how to get started in your...

Research report

The spread challenge

September 2018
Research report

This report shines a light on the challenges facing the NHS in improving the uptake of new ideas and...

You might also like...

Blog

Green shoots: creating the conditions for health care innovation to flourish

Blog

How will the four new Adopting Innovation hubs cultivate the optimal environment for change to be...

Invitation to tender

ITT: Evaluation of the Adopting Innovation programme

Invitation to tender

We are seeking an evaluation partner to undertake an evaluation of our Adopting Innovation...

Event

Webinar: Tech and NHS recovery – what you should know

Event

How can technological innovation help speed the recovery of the NHS and sustain high quality care in...

Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101 copy

Get social

In 2019 the #NHSLongTermPlan set out a 10-year strategy for improving and reforming the NHS in England. Our report… https://t.co/z29UtrJ4p8

Follow us on Twitter
Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101

Work with us

We look for talented and passionate individuals as everyone at the Health Foundation has an important role to play.

View current vacancies
Artboard 101 copy 2

The Q community

Q is an initiative connecting people with improvement expertise across the UK.

Find out more