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Department of Engineering

Using systems approaches within health care improvement

Using systems approaches within health care improvement

An open day to investigate using systems approaches within health care improvement was held at the Department of Engineering. 

The systems approach was an eye opener and the need for collaboration between service users and designers is a step in the right direction

This event was organised to give insight into the joint work developed between the Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal College of Physicians and Academy of Medical Sciences, encouraging a systems approach within health care improvement.

The visit was for members of an initiative called Q - a community working together to improve health and care quality across the UK, delivered by The Health Foundation and supported and co-funded by NHS Improvement. There are over 2000 members and the community continues to grow. Q’s mission is to foster continuous and sustainable improvement in health and care, creating opportunities for people to come together to share ideas, enhance skills and collaborate to make health and care better.

The visit was inspired by a Royal Academy of Engineering publication titled Engineering better care: a systems approach to health and care design and continuous improvement.

Offering plenary talks, skills workshops and real-life engineering examples, the open day introduced core elements of the approach – people thinking, risk thinking, design thinking and systems thinking – to consider how current quality improvement tools and approaches could be enhanced through wider application of approaches more traditionally associated with engineering.

The keynote speakers were Dr John Dean, Clinical Director for quality improvement at the Royal College of Physicians and Professor John Clarkson from the Department of Engineering. Here, they introduce the day and talk about what we mean by a systems approach:

Cambridge Q visit- Opening Speakers from The Health Foundation on Vimeo.

Here, Q members Edward Rysdale and Gareth Adkins talk with Dr James Ward about their reflections on the visit:

Cambridge - Participants from The Health Foundation on Vimeo.

Twitter Chat

Following the visit, Q hosted a successful Twitter Chat discussing insights from the visit and systems approaches within healthcare. The discussion was based around five key questions:

What opportunities are there for introducing systems approaches into health care?

What might be the issues with using a systems approach?

Are there areas you would have liked to have heard or learnt more about from the report and/or the Q Visit?

Is there anything you draw from these ideas (or from the Q Visit) that you could apply in your local setting?

You’ve heard about/seen the report, what should happen next?

 View all the tweets, by searching Twitter for #Qvisits

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