Key points

  • Participants strongly felt that the interventions implemented as part of the initiative had delivered benefits for patient care and the new network was set up as a way to sustain and extend these achievements. The network consisted of:
    • a community of practice, with access to virtual meetings, a clinical dashboard, a LISTSERV and annual learning events
    • two collaboratives, in which member organisations shared expertise with others
    • two waves of innovation projects, in which member organisations were supported to utilise rapid cycle improvement methods to achieve an innovative solution to an identified problem.
  • This independent evaluation of the Safer Patients Network aimed to determine to what extent it succeeded in transforming the Safer Patients Initiative from a successful collaborative to a self-sustaining, member-driven network committed to continually improving patient safety within the member organisations and beyond.
  • The evaluation identifies a number of important lessons from the Safer Patients Network that should be considered by similar programmes in the future. These include lessons about:
    • understanding competing priorities
    • targeting and supporting the right participants
    • virtual vs face-to-face interactions
    • successful communities of practice
    • successful collaborations.

The Safer Patients Network was created as a way for participants in the Health Foundation’s Safer Patients Initiative to continue to engage with each other after the programme had ended. The Safer Patients Initiative ran from 2004 to 2008 and was designed to provide hospitals with the skills and expertise to close the gap between knowledge of best practice and its actual implementation.

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