Using clinical communities to improve quality

Ten lessons for getting the clinical community approach to work in practice

December 2013

Thumbnail

Key points

  • Drawing on the evaluation of the programme, the report outlines ten key lessons for getting the approach to work in practice and avoiding potential pitfalls:
    • Choose the right challenge for a clinical community approach
    • Build a strong core team
    • Recruit a community
    • Resource the community properly
    • Start with a clear ‘theory of change’, but review and adapt in light of learning and experience
    • Foster a sense of community and belonging
    • Recognise and deal with conflict and marginalisation
    • Find a balance between ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ tactics
    • Use data wisely
    • Recognise the contextual influences on improvement and the need for customisation

Gaps are often found between how health care should be delivered, as defined by high-quality evidence, and the care that patients actually receive. Closing these gaps is an important priority for health systems everywhere. But finding the right structures to facilitate improvement is not easy.

This report introduces an approach – the clinical community – used by the Health Foundation’s Closing the Gap through Clinical Communities programme to support and secure improvements in health systems across multiple sites. The programme supported 11 clinical communities to come together around shared goals, to learn from each other but with the latitude to develop and apply local solutions. The programme has led to a range of improvements in the quality of care which continue to be sustained today.

    At a time when working through networks and across organisational boundaries is becoming increasingly important, this learning report provides valuable insights for those wanting to improve the quality of care.

    The full programme evaluation report is also available on request. Please contact research.mailbox@health.org.uk for details.

    Further reading

    Programme

    Closing the Gap through Clinical Communities

    This programme supported 11 projects from across the UK that worked to improve the quality and safety of care in a different ...

    You might also like...

    Invitation to tender

    ITT: Summative Evaluation of the Flow Coaching Academy Programme

    The deadline for responses is 12.00 on Tuesday 5 November 2019.

    Apply now

    Blog

    Making time to talk: the challenge of spreading knowledge

    Dr Nicola Burgess on the practical value of creating formal spaces to spread informal knowledge within organisations.

    Blog

    On the front line of quality improvement in Manchester: flashing lights, focused funding and forming habits

    Will Warburton reflects on what he learnt from his recent visit to front-line improvement practitioners in Manchester.

    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