With crisis comes opportunity – the need to focus on Quality Improvement (QI) has never been more important

Andrew Cuff, Consultant Physiotherapist & Regional Clinical Lead, Connect Health, tells us why leadership is not about the maintenance of the status quo and how Quality Improvement (QI) has been shown to deliver better patient outcomes as well as improved operational and financial performance.

Learn more by registering for the next Connect Health Change webinar on QI on Wed 20 January here.

 

As a Consultant Physiotherapist, my role consists of living and demonstrating the four pillars that underpin and guide my practice.

These four pillars have been introduced by Health Education England (HEE) within their multi-professional capability and impact framework and include expert clinical practice; strategic and enabling leadership; learning, developing and improving across the system; research and innovation. When I reflect on these four pillars, there are many required skills and facets that transcend across pillars however, a crucial enabler is that of knowledge-creation, translation, and implementation.

 

As a clinical or operational leader, you may be thinking what has this got to do with me?

In a world consumed by the tension of maintaining service delivery whilst remaining agile to respond to challenges the COVID-19 pandemic poses, why would I be focusing now on change and leadership of that change? Well, as we have seen in abundance that with crisis comes opportunity and how we are currently working looks and feels drastically different to how it looked in January 2020! What is more, how we are working in January 2021 will no doubt look different to January 2022 as we ‘get back to better’ and harness all the positive changes that rapid transformation has introduced. This has been discussed in depth within our first Connect Health Change webinar ‘Making and Embedding Transformation Post-COVID’ and exemplified in the #NHSChangeChallenge.

As a leader in healthcare, continuous improvement is at the heart of what we do and to be a leader is not about the maintenance of the status quo.

 

If you are a leader, you are in the business of change.

Leadership is not about the maintenance of the status quo. As a leader in healthcare, continuous improvement is at the heart of what we do and is often considered through the lens of assuring and delivering ‘quality’. Whilst quality is ubiquitous in healthcare lingo, it often means different things to different people. It would be helpful therefore to consider what we mean by ‘quality’ and to define what on the face of it, appears to be a simple term. Quality is defined by the Institute of Medicine as healthcare which is safe, effective, patient-centred, timely, efficient and equitable.

Organisations that focus on Quality Improvement (QI) have been shown to deliver better patient outcomes as well as improved operational and financial performance. This is however dependent on effective leadership, systems that enable and a culture that is well versed in QI principles. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) reflect that these organisations are more likely to be rated ‘Outstanding’ and feel different to their inspections of other organisations.

 

As a clinician, you may be thinking what has this got to do with me?

In 2017, HEE published the multi-professional framework for advanced clinical practice. This document outlined how all health and care professionals working at an advanced level would need to demonstrate capability consistent with Level 7 (Master’s) taxonomy across four pillars of practice. These pillars include Clinical Practice, Leadership, Education and Research. Within the research pillar, capabilities include critical engagement with research, evaluation of practice and the ability to disseminate best practice research or QI findings. Gone are the days of an ‘Advanced Physiotherapy Practitioner’ being appointed solely on clinical prowess. With the Centre for Advancing Practice on the horizon, change is afoot.

 

It is with the above in mind that I am excited to Chair the next Connect Health Change webinar on Wednesday 20th January 2021 titled ‘Quality Improvement – Knowledge creation, translation and implementation’. With an expert panel consisting of esteemed academics, QI practitioners, knowledge mobilisation experts, and clinicians it is sure to be a thought-provoking, challenging and information rich session. Remember, as a leader in healthcare, continuous improvement is at the heart of what we do and to be a leader is not about the maintenance of the status quo.

I look forward to seeing you there.

Andrew Cuff, Consultant Physiotherapist & Regional Clinical Lead (North), Connect Health

@AndrewVCuff

Learn more by registering for the next Connect Health Change webinar on QI on Wed 20 January here

Find out more about our other webinars in the Connect Health Change series here