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Quality Improvement

What is Quality Improvement?

Quality Improvement (QI) is a bottom-up approach to driving change to improve the way we work.  Unlike traditional models QI strives for continuous internal improvement rather than relying on externally applied targets.  QI achieves this by engaging front-line workers to identify problems and potential solutions.  QI focuses on changing processes. 

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got” - Henry Ford.

How does QI work?

QI identifies areas for improvement and key measurements to make, before implementing small changes to see if the changes result in an improvement.  This change follows the ‘PDSA’ pattern:

  • Plan:
    • Identify problems and objectives
    • Plan data collection
  • Do:
    • Carry out the plan
    • Collect data
    • Document and think about any problems
  • Study:
    • Analyse data
    • Summarise learning
  • Act:
    • Make changes/recommendations
    • Think about next cycle

Who is QI for?

QI is for everyone!  QI aims to engender a true culture of continuous improvement. This is ideally from ‘board to ward’.

How do I get involved with QI?

If you are interested discuss with your supervisor potential areas for improvement. If you are hospital-based, there is often a QI lead or team within your organisation (although this is still variable) – it is worth looking on your organisation’s website for further details.

What else is out there?

You might be interested in getting involved in a QI Forum.

What is a QI Forum?

A QI forum is a regular meeting held with the purpose of supporting potential and on-going quality improvement work within the organisation.  It provides an opportunity to share good practice and provide educational information about QI and how to get involved whist working at the organisation.

When is the best time to have a QI forum?

A large trust in the Yorkshire and Humber area hold their QI forum monthly.  The day of the week is rotated to allow all to attend and it is held from 12.30 – 14.00.

Who can attend?

The QI forum is open to all staff members regardless of speciality or job role.  Attendance is need-based and not compulsory.

Who runs the QI forum?

The QI forum is run by key staff involved with QI in the organisation.  These staff may also be involved in QI training in the organisation.

There are also a number of other resources available in the Yorkshire and Humber region as listed below:

The Improvement Academy:

  • Based in Bradford but courses run across the region.
  • All services free of charge
  • “Bronze” training:
    • An online resource, accessible to all, available at:
    • An introduction to the concepts of QI.
    • Takes approximately 90 minutes to complete.
  • “Silver” training:
    • One-day course providing an Introduction to QI methods, tools and techniques.
    • Requirement to complete “bronze” training prior to taking “silver” training.
  • “Gold” training:
    • A ‘train the trainer’ course run over two days.
    • Designed to provide the support and materials for candidates to run their own one-day ‘silver’ level course.

Microsystems Coaching Academy:

  • Based at Sheffield Teaching Hospital (STH)
  • Base upon The Dartmouth Institute Microsystem Academy (USA)
  • Free to STH employees
  • Offers ‘Introduction to Quality Improvement’ courses:

Generic Skills Courses

If you are a doctor in training or SAS doctor in the Yorkshire and the Humber you can sign up to a free 2-day QI course as part of the ‘generic skills’ courses run by Health Education England working across Yorkshire and the Humber.

IQI Training Course

A previous Leadership Fellow, Dr Amanda Newnham, developed the IQI training course. The slides from this course can be accessed in the related documents section below.


For any further information regarding region-wide opportunities or for support please get in touch at: futureleaders.yh@hee.nhs.uk or find out about our Yorkshire and the Humber QI Conference held in June 2017


This Page was last updated on: 21 June 2017

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