Using Quality Improvement approaches to maintain and improve health care services during the COVID-19 pandemic



  • Dr Tim Horton, Assistant Director (Insight & Analysis), The Health Foundation


  • Bryan Jones, Improvement Fellow, The Health Foundation
  • Dr Nicola Burgess, Reader of Operations Management, Warwick Business School; Principal Investigator: Evaluation of NHS partnership with Virginia Mason Institute
  • Laura Semple, Assistant Director of Improvement Programmes, The Health Foundation
  • Dr Tom Downes, Consultant Physician and Geriatrician, Clinical Lead for Quality Improvement, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS FT
  • Jo Scott, Q Insight Manager, The Health Foundation

Quality Improvement (QI) approaches and methods have played a central role in maintaining and improving health care services in the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using insights from three programmes supported or led by the Health Foundation, this workshop will explore the factors underpinning the effective deployment of QI approaches during this time. As well as hearing presentations from the three programme teams, participants will be able to join group discussions on key themes emerging from the projects. The three projects are:

The evaluation of the NHS Partnership with Virginia Mason Institute

The US based Virginia Mason Institute has been working with five NHS trusts in England to develop a 'lean' culture of continuous improvement. As part of the evaluation of the partnership commissioned by the Health Foundation and NHSE&I, Warwick Business School has been exploring how the trusts have used VMI approaches to shape their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Flow Coaching Academy

The Flow Coaching Academy programme trains health and care staff in the team coaching, technical and relationship skills required to deliver continuous and sustainable improvement. With support from the Health Foundation a network of local academies has been set up across the UK to train flow coaches and support teams to improve flow along care pathways. In 2020 the Health Foundation commissioned research to investigate the extent to which the skills and expertise of flow coaches have been used to inform NHS trusts' response to COVID-19.

Q Insight research on the role of improvement during COVID-19

Q is a connected community of people working together to improve health care quality in the UK and Ireland. The Q Insight team at the Health Foundation carried out research with Q members in 2020/21 to examine how QI approaches, methods and tools have been used during the pandemic.

Click here to join this session at 1115hrs on 6 July.