Q Exchange: an exciting new approach to improvement funding

26 July 2018

The Q Exchange is an exciting new grant funding programme supporting projects led by members of the Q community. 

What’s different about Q Exchange?

Q Exchange uses the collective wisdom of the Q community to help identify and shape projects during a transparent and iterative application process. This is a fresh approach for us in how we channel funding to support improvement in health care.

Ideas for potential improvement projects are posted online, and everyone is invited to view, comment and offer support. With this collaborative design process, projects can be discussed and refined before they even begin. Members of the Q community then together make the final funding decisions through a vote at the Q community event. 

Once the successful projects start, instead of the usual written progress reports they will report their progress directly back to the Q community. We will be encouraging project teams to think about how to share their learning in ways that can help other Q members and the wider health and care sector, unlocking the potential for this process to support the wider spread of approaches. 

The aim is to activate the knowledge of improvement experts across the UK; to create links between those leading work and those who can help champion, support, adopt these ideas; and to boost ideas that have the best potential to generate value for the health and care system.

How has this new idea gone down? 

This new process seems to have really captured the imagination of people in Q and beyond. Launched in April 2018, we are really pleased that the programme attracted 181 project ideas – far more than the project team was expecting. Following comments and feedback online, applicants then submitted projects they felt were worth pursuing. A surprisingly high proportion (139) were formally submitted. 

Selecting the top 25

Following a challenging assessment process, the shortlist of 25 projects has now been announced. The shortlisting panel were impressed to see a diverse range of ideas put forward from every part of health care and all across the UK. It’s interesting and encouraging that there were many projects from beyond the hospital sector, which is often over-represented in applications to our funding programmes. There are projects in mental health, and a number focused on care homes and broader community asset / whole system approaches. There is clearly passion within Q for collaborative leadership with service users, with a number of projects led by patient leaders or focused on enhancing capacity for co-production. And it’s good to see collaborations with research institutions and a focus on enhancing the use of data.  

We’re really looking forward to shortlisted teams having the chance to showcase their projects at the Q community’s annual event on 19 September. At the event Q members will select the final 15 projects in a live vote. Each successful project will receive up to £30,000. And all those who participate should gain useful insights and a group of supporters to help them on their way.  

Tell us what you think about the top 25

Q members will cast the final vote on which projects get funded, but now’s your chance to tell us what you think about the top 25 - have a look at the shortlisted projects and add your thoughts, comments, ideas and support. Maybe one of them is proposing to improve care in your area of expertise. Maybe you’ve already tried to do something similar in your local service and have learning you can share. Maybe it just sounds interesting and you’d love to get involved. Your advice or offers of support to help continue to strengthen and refine the project ideas will be very welcome.

Visit the Q website to find out more about the work of the Q community and how to join

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