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Professor Mary Dixon-Woods, Director of The Healthcare Improvement Studies Institute (THIS Institute)

Challenges in providing consistently high-quality, safe care are common to health systems worldwide. The NHS is no different, and like in other systems, these challenges are frustrated by weaknesses in the evidence base for how to make improvements. But my talk at this year’s Science Festival is about how the NHS is uniquely well-placed to create that much-needed evidence.

Based on the 2018 Harveian Oration I delivered at the Royal College of Physicians, I will propose that instead of just trying to do improvement, we need also to study it. To avoid waste, duplication of effort, and new risks, it’s important that we learn what works, what doesn’t and why. That means a real commitment to evaluation and to recognising the wisdom and expertise of NHS staff, patients and carers in generating evidence that matters.

A strong evidence base for making improvements can help ensure that patients have more consistently good experiences and outcomes, but it has been far too slow to build. My team at THIS Institute, funded by the Health Foundation, is here to change that. Through rigorous studies focused on the priorities of patients and staff, we’re here to create a scientific asset for the NHS about how to improve quality and safety.


Related event:

Improving quality and safety in healthcare