The King's PSSQ Centre - also part of King's Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre, a collaboration between King's College London and Guy's and St Thomas', King's College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts - aims to bring together National Health Service (NHS) professionals with academic experts from a wide range of backgrounds, including management and the social sciences, to focus on investigating ways to improve the care of patients.
This three-year study, starting in 2010, will explore the relationships between the organisational and cultural characteristics of hospitals and how these impact upon clinical effectiveness, patient safety and experience in European countries. Data will be collected in two hospitals in each of the five partner countries, with additional studies of two particular clinical areas in one hospital in each country.
Whilst there is a good understanding of the types of quality improvement undertaken in health care, less is known of the organisational and cultural processes that determine the effectiveness of these methods. By examining the relationship between these processes and quality on different levels - from the national health care system through to the hospital, to the frontline clinical team - in each of the five partner countries, the study will unveil how the dynamics and interactions between these different levels impact on sustained quality of hospital care.
Naomi Fulop, Director of King's PSSQ and Professor of Health & Health Policy, Department of Management at King's College London commented: "The project will provide invaluable information about which organisational systems in European hospitals work to improve patient safety and service quality, and which create barriers. It is the first time that partners across Europe have come together to investigate these issues in depth, and we share a commitment to use the research findings to improve the quality and safety of patient care on an ongoing basis."
The research will enable the team to deliver effective solutions to hospital leaders, based on the realities of implementing quality improvement programmes. The findings will be used to design and disseminate an evidence-based Quality and Safety Guide for Hospitals to guide hospitals on implementing effective organisation-wide quality and safety improvement initiatives.
In parallel, a Framework for Assessing Hospital Quality will also be compiled, enabling purchasers of hospital services and governments throughout the European Union to monitor and assess the effectiveness, safety and patient experience of hospital care.
The project has been named "Quality and Safety in European Union Hospitals: A Research-based Guide for Implementing Best Practice and a Framework for Assessing Performance (QUASER)". Partners include the Imperial Centre for Patient Safety and Service Quality (CPSSQ); the Department of Health Studies at the University of Stavanger, Norway; the Department of Health Policy & Management, Erasmus University, The Netherlands; Qulturum, Jönköping County Council, Sweden; Instituto Superior de Ciências do Trabalho e da Empresa (ISCTE), Lisbon, Portugal.