Quality Improvement in Research and Education

This section of the website provides a framework for building public partnerships for evaluation in health and social care education and research.

The engagement of the public, at various levels of health care, has gained appeal in the literature, aiming to enhance quality of practice and learning. More recently reforms of the NHS increasingly emphasise the need for an open and transparent culture that promotes inclusivity (open, transparent and approachable). Together this highlights the risk of measuring the wrong things and need for shared responsibility and accountability between health and social professionals and the public. Collaboration in evaluation has an important role to play.

What do we mean by quality?

  • Care that is safe; effective; with positive patient experience. (Darzi)
    This is the current legal definition for quality in the context of health in England, forming the basis from which we view evaluation.
  • “The degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfills requirements” - ISO 9000:2005, section 3.1.1
    An international standard and makes the point that quality is relative and in the eye of the beholder.
  • Care that is safe, effective, person-centred, timely, efficient and equitable - Institute of Medicine 2001
  • “No needless deaths; no needless pain or suffering; no helplessness in those served or serving; no needless waiting; no waste; no-one left out” (IHI)
    Perhaps begins to make it more ‘real’ and how it might look to patients – and staff.

The Purpose of the Principles

The purpose of this practical guide is to help health and social care organisations and practitioners and higher education institutions (HEI):

  • Identify the characteristics needed for collaborative evaluation
  • Establish principles for undertaking collaborative approaches to evaluation and measuring impact
  • Support effective joint working
  • Share emerging best practice and principles for practice

Who are the principles for?

The principles are designed for anyone engaged in undertaking evaluation of health interventions in the NHS, in particular:

  • Health and social care providers (practitioners, employers);
  • Higher education providers (researchers, educators);
  • Students undertaking evaluation studies (undergraduate / post graduate).

How can the principles be used?

The principles can be used in the following ways:

  • Building evaluation into health interventions from the inception;
  • Considering the design of evaluation;
  • Building capacity through partnerships between service and academic partners;
  • Considering how evaluation is delivered to meet a range of needs; 
  • Evaluating in impact, return on investment
  • Sharing findings from evaluations to harness learning and best practice.