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.

Knowledge of improvement methods is a key skill for leadership development in the healthcare setting.  

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. 

Before and throughout the process of the QI project we should ask the following three questions (taken from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement – available at: http://www.ihi.org/resources/Pages/HowtoImprove/default.aspx)

  1. What are we trying to accomplish?
  2. How will we know that a change is an improvement?
  3. What change can we make that will result in improvement?

This subsequent 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 potential areas for improvement with your supervisor.  There is often a QI lead or team within your organisation – it is worth looking on your organisation’s website for further details.

There are also a number of other resources available in the Yorkshire and Humber region – please see the ‘resources’ section.

Resources – What Else Is Out There?

The Improvement Academy:

  • Based in Bradford and supports the NHS and healthcare organisations across the Yorkshire and Humber region and UK.

"Bronze" training:

  • A free online resource, accessible to all.
  • An introduction to the concepts of QI.
  • Takes approximately 45 minutes to complete.

“Silver” QI training – Learning by doing:

  • Delivered virtually over 2 x 3.5 hour sessions, this two-part course offers individuals and teams an opportunity to work through the IHI’s Model of Improvement using a practical case study. The content is intentionally highly practical with the aim of preparing you to engage in an improvement project within your organisation.
  • Requirement to complete “bronze” training prior to taking “silver” training.

Places for the Yorkshire and Humber Future Leaders Programme fellows area special rate of £160 (please quote FLP when applying). Book your place.

“Gold” training:

  • A ‘train the trainer’ course delivered virtually over two full days.
  • Designed to provide the support and materials for candidates to run their own foundation ‘silver’ level course.

Include membership of nationwide Quality Improvement Trainers Network. Please enquireacademy@yhia.nhs.uk about future dates and prices.

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:
    One day course - £90 for NHS organisations external to STH
    Two day course - £160 for NHS organisations external to STH
  • Link to book training: http://www.sheffieldmca.org.uk

Generic Skills Courses

For doctors, public health registrars and dentists in training: 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.

For further detail please see the Education pages.

  • For further information you can scroll through the slides below developed by a previous HEE leadership Fellow, Dr Amanda Newnham.  Thanks also to Mr Anthony Jesurasa.
  • These slides are an introduction to QI aimed at junior doctors.

QI Conference

HEE run an annual conference, with a focus on QI and leadership.


2018 QI Conference

The QI Conference 2018 took place on 12th July 2018 in Sheffield. Please click the tabs below for more information.

The theme for the conference was: Working Together for Improvement: Behaviour Change in the NHS


Event Brochure

Workshop: Introduction to Achieving Behaviour Change

Workshop: Introduction to Stress Management

Workshop: Introduction to Mindfulness

Oral Presentation: Anupam Sharma 

Oral Presentation: Carrie McKenzie 

Oral Presentation: Edward Fearnley

2017 QI Conference

2nd Annual Quality Improvement Conference held on 20th June 2017 - “Moving Forward Together” at the Park Inn by Radisson, York.  


Contact Us

For any further information regarding region-wide opportunities or for support please get in touch at: futureleaders.yh@hee.nhs.uk