Quality Improvement – When and where will YOU start?

In a recent blog, Matthew Kershaw considers comprehensive Quality Improvement. He suggests that the question is no longer WHY should we start, but WHEN will we start?

The ‘WE’ in this instance is a question addressed to all the individual parts of our health system AND the whole of it. It’s also a question that the joint Kings Fund and Health Foundation report Making the case for quality improvement: lessons for NHS Boards and Leaders addresses to all the ‘I’s that form the sum of the ‘WE’ i.e. NHS leaders at every level, and particularly those at the top.

As a Quality Improvement practitioner I am frequently addressing the ‘I’s and ‘I’ get it because its where my own Quality Improvement journey really began in earnest. ‘Starting with Self’ is something that I’ve heard Don Berwick recommend to many a young learner. It’s something they can easily embrace in their hunger for received wisdom, and with their curiosity unfettered and undisturbed by consideration of barriers. AND its within their sphere of influence – they can change direction, risk failure and learn more.

So what about us, the leaders of fragmented and complex healthcare systems? Do we take refuge in the abstract of ‘we’ – or do we remind ourselves that leadership is about maintaining the ability to change direction. Are we prepared to answer the question ‘when and where will I start my journey of continuous improvement?’

There are other questions too like: Can I ‘start with self’? Do I think I can? Do I even want to? And do I really care to?

Do I still have the hunger for wisdom? Is there space in my life to rekindle curiosity? Can I dismantle the barriers (real or imagined) that will stop me before I’ve started? Can I bear the risk and discomfort of daring to take a different path, failing fast in view of others, and learning even more than I thought possible?

And if you can answer yes to all of this – Do you know where to start: What to look for and where to look? Do you know someone who will support you and keep you going?

If not then please get in touch with me via email and I can let you know how QIC can help you integrate all 10 lessons for NHS leaders so that continuous I’mprovement becomes ‘business as usual!’