Multimethod study of a large-scale programme to improve patient safety using a harm-free care approach

BMJ, 22 September 2016

This study aimed to evaluate whether a large-scale two-phase quality improvement programme achieved its aims and to characterise the influences on achievement.  The programme sought to (1) develop a shared national, regional and locally aligned safety focus for 4 high-cost, high volume harms; (2) establish a new measurement system based on a composite measure of ‘harm-free’ care and (3) deliver improved outcomes. Phase I involved a quality improvement collaborative intended to involve 100 organisations; phase II used financial incentives for data collection.

The findings of the study offer important lessons for large-scale improvement programmes, particularly when they seek to develop novel concepts and measures. External contexts may exert far-reaching influence. The challenges of developing measurement systems should not be underestimated.

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