Intended for healthcare professionals

Quality Improvement

The BMJ in partnership with and funded by The Health Foundation are launching a joint series of papers exploring how to improve the quality of healthcare delivery. The series aims to discuss the evidence for systematic quality improvement, provide knowledge and support to clinicians and ultimately to help improve care for patients.

The Health Foundation and The BMJ share a commitment to improving the quality of health care, in particular the frontline delivery of health services. Over the next year and beyond the series will aim to support clinicians by providing thoughtful and targeted material on key topics in quality improvement, and helping to guide quality improvement learning and practice.

About The Health Foundation

The Health Foundation is an independent charity committed to bringing about better health and health care for people in the UK. From giving grants to those working at the front line to carrying out research and policy analysis, the Health Foundation aims to shine a light on how to make successful change happen.


Joanna Bircher: Prioritising quality improvement
Dominique Allwood and colleagues: Creating space for quality improvement
Anya de Longh and Sibylle Erdmann: Better healthcare must mean better for patients and carers
Bryan Jones and Cat Chatfield: Lessons in quality improvement


Nicola Burgess and colleagues: Improving together: collaboration starts with regulators
Trish Greenhalgh: Spreading and scaling up innovation and improvement
Jeffrey Braithwaite: Changing how we think about healthcare improvement
Russell Mannion and Huw Davies: Understanding organisational culture for healthcare quality improvement
Carl Macrae and Kevin Stewart: Can we import improvements from industry to healthcare?
Naomi Fulop and Angus Ramsay: How organisations contribute to improving the quality of healthcare
Iain Smith and colleagues: Adapting Lean methods to facilitate stakeholder engagement and co-design in healthcare
Robbie Foy and colleagues: Revitalising audit and feedback to improve patient care
Amar Shah and colleagues: Quality improvement at times of crisis
Pedro Delgado and colleagues: Accelerating population health improvement
Lisa Hirschhorn and colleagues: Aiming beyond equality to reach equity: the promise and challenge of quality improvement
Greg Ogrinc and colleagues: Different approaches to making and testing change in healthcare


Mary Dixon-Woods: How to improve healthcare improvement
Paul Batalden: Getting more health from healthcare: quality improvement must acknowledge patient coproduction
John R Drew and Meghana Pandit: Why healthcare leadership should embrace quality improvement


Bryan Jones and colleagues: How to get started in quality improvement
Amar Shah: Using data for improvement
Geraldine Clarke and colleagues: Evaluating the impact of healthcare interventions using routine data
Adam Backhouse and Fatai Ogunlayi: Quality improvement into practice
Charles Coughlan and colleagues: How to improve care across boundaries
Peter Davey and colleagues: How to embed quality improvement into medical training

Further reading from The BMJ
Will Warburton: The NHS long term plan
Joanna Bircher: quality improvement evangelist
Billy Boland: How can you know what culture you are operating in, and can it be measured?
Anya de Iongh and Cat Chatfield: #BetterHealthDebate—getting the fundamental relationships right
Matthew Taylor: People not technology will shape the future of work
Rhiannon Barker and colleagues: What does staff engagement mean in the NHS and why is it important?
Claire Lemer: Getting the care you need shouldn’t depend on being knowledgeable, articulate, and demanding
Dido Harding, NHS Improvement: “I’m shocked at the lack of basic people management skills in the NHS”
John Brennan: What can the QI movement learn from evidence based medicine?
David Oliver: Should practical quality improvement have parity of esteem with evidence based medicine?
John Dean: Committed to quality improvement
Mary Dixon-Woods: Patient safety workaholic
Jason Leitch: Three chords and the tooth


These articles are part of a series commissioned by The BMJ based on ideas generated by a joint editorial group with members from the Health Foundation and The BMJ, including a patient/carer. The BMJ retained full editorial control over external peer review, editing, and publication. Open access fees and The BMJ’s quality improvement editor post are funded by the Health Foundation.

Further reading from The Health Foundation

Quality Improvement made simple: what everyone should know about healthcare quality improvement (2021)
This guide, updated in 2021, is especially useful for health care staff leading fast and efficient service change as a result of the pandemic. It offers an explanation of some popular approaches used to improve quality, including where they have come from, their underlying principles and their efficacy and applicability within the healthcare arena. It also describes the factors that can help to ensure the successful use of these approaches and methods. to improve the quality of care processes, pathways and services.

The habits of an improver (2015)
This paper offers a way of viewing the field of improvement from the perspective of the men and women who deliver and co-produce care on the ground - the improvers on whom the NHS depends. It describes 15 habits which such individuals regularly deploy.

Perspectives on context (2014)
A series of essays by leading academics exploring the issue of context in improving the quality of patient care. Building on these essays, we published a further evidence review on context in 2015.

BMJ Quality & Safety


BMJ Quality & Safety provides a rich mix of news, opinion, debate and research for academics, clinicians, healthcare managers and policy makers. It encourages the science of improvement, debate, and new thinking on improving the quality of healthcare.

The journal is led by a patient-focused editorial team with a view towards helping all team members improve knowledge with the overall goal of improving patient care. The journal integrates the academic and clinical aspects of quality and safety in healthcare by encouraging academics to create evidence and knowledge valued by clinicians and clinicians to value using evidence and knowledge to improve quality.