A scoping review of online repositories of quality improvement projects, interventions and initiatives in healthcare

Bytautas, J.P. et al. BMJ Quality & Safety. Published Online: 20 April 2016

Background: Quality improvement (QI) is becoming an important focal point for health systems. There is increasing interest among health system stakeholders to learn from and share experiences on the use of QI methods and approaches in their work. Yet there are few easily accessible, online repositories dedicated to documenting QI activity.

Methods: We conducted a scoping review of publicly available, web-based QI repositories to (i) identify current approaches to sharing information on QI practices; (ii) categorise these approaches based on hosting, scope and size, content acquisition and eligibility, content format and search, and evaluation and engagement characteristics; and (iii) review evaluations of the design, usefulness and impact of their online QI practice repositories. The search strategy consisted of traditional database and grey literature searches, as well as expert consultation, with the ultimate aim of identifying and describing QI repositories of practices undertaken in a healthcare context.

Results: We identified 13 QI repositories and found substantial variation across the five categories. The QI repositories used different terminology (eg, practices vs case studies) and approaches to content acquisition, and varied in terms of primary areas of focus. All provided some means for organising content according to categories or themes and most provided at least rudimentary keyword search functionality. Notably, none of the QI repositories included evaluations of their impact.

Discussion: With growing interest in sharing and spreading best practices and increasing reliance on QI as a key contributor to health system performance, the role of QI repositories is likely to expand. Designing future QI repositories based on knowledge of the range and type of features available is an important starting point for improving their usefulness and impact.

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Smoking rates could be ‘dramatically reduced’

A new report by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), endorsed by 27 health and mental health organisations, sets out recommendations for how smoking rates for people with a mental health condition could be dramatically reduced.

Image source: http://www.ash.org.uk/

These include improved training of healthcare staff, better access to stop smoking medication and a move towards smokefree mental health settings.

In 2013, the rate of smoking according to the Health Survey for England (HSE) was 21 per cent for the general population and 40 per cent for those with a long standing mental health condition. The evidence from the HSE indicates that smoking rates among those with a mental health condition have gone unchanged since the 1990s, while smoking among the general population has declined significantly.

As a consequence the health inequalities faced by those with a mental health condition have grown over the last 20 years.

The 12 ambitions of this report feed into ASH’s overarching ambition to combat this growing inequality.

Full report: The stolen years: The mental health and smoking action report

Integrated care to address the physical health needs of people with severe mental illness: a rapid review

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)

People with mental health conditions have a lower life expectancy and poorer physical health outcomes than the general population. Evidence suggests that this discrepancy is driven by a combination of clinical risk factors, socioeconomic factors and health system factors. The objective of this research was to explore current service provision and map the recent evidence on models of integrated care addressing the physical health needs of people with severe mental illness primarily within the mental health service setting.

Investment in general practice

NHS England announces multi-billion plan designed to improve patient care and access, and invest in new ways of providing primary care.

NHS England has published General practice: forward view. The plan sets out details of increased levels of investment in primary care, with an extra £2.4 billion a year for general practice services by 2020/21.  The plan also contains specific, practical and funded steps to strengthen workforce, drive efficiencies in workload, modernise infrastructure and technology, and redesign in the way primary care is offered to patients.

Image source: http://www.england.nhs.uk


Improving access to mental health services

The National Audit Office has published Mental health services: preparations for improving access. This report looks at the preparations the Department of Health, NHS England and other arm’s-length bodies are making for improving access to mental health services. It is the first output in what we expect to be a long-term programme of work on mental health in the coming years, covering both the health system’s progress in improving support for people with mental health problems and how mental health issues are tackled more widely across government.

mental spend
Image source: http://www.nao.org.uk


Related link: NHS Clinical Commissioners