Intended for healthcare professionals


How do I develop a quality improvement project?

BMJ 2019; 367 doi: (Published 21 October 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;367:l6041
  1. Abi Rimmer
  1. The BMJ

Quality improvement projects can require a lot of time and effort but they can also be very rewarding. Abi Rimmer speaks to four experts about how to make them a success

Don’t be afraid to start small

Kirsty Brownlie, GP specialty trainee year 3 and quality improvement fellow, says, “Make it something you care about. Instigating change in the NHS is tough but incredibly rewarding to achieve. To make a success of your quality improvement (QI) project, start with something you feel strongly about. Gone are the days when trainees were mandated to perform dreary audits with no clear benefit to the wider system. QI is about producing tangible change.

“Don’t be afraid to start small. Many of the most successful and sustainable projects began as small scale changes which have been rolled out to other areas within a trust, a region, or the entire country. If you are new to QI, starting with a manageable project helps you to learn and apply the methodology without getting too bogged down in the intricacies of wider system change.

“Research what’s been done before. A similar project may have been done in another region and offer valuable groundwork for your own venture. Having some existing evidence that the project could be a success helps to get key stakeholders on board.

“Be collaborative. People like to be consulted about their experiences and ideas, especially if your project is something which will affect them, and you may find that their support helps …

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