Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Indicating the Way to Quality Care

The NHS Information Centre has published a set of 200 indicators of quality care. This is the result of a piece of work started by Darzi's report 'High Quality Care for All' and you can tell the clinician involvement has been continued into the deliverable with the phrase "assured by clinicians for use by clinicians". The report, downloadable in specific sections, is structured around pathways so that the indicators are clinically relevent. I've not done a count of indicators to see whether the report really has 200 indicators, but I actually find it refreshingly transparent that many sections of the document as described in one way or another as 'to be done'. It has to be said that the mechanics of governance and maintenance have been put in place around the report too so it will continue to evolve. The indicators address Effectiveness, Patient Experience and Safety, and therefore reflects current progressive thinking about what value means in health care (see "War on Waste" by Ali Parsa).

Monday, July 13, 2009

More Money Than Can Be Spent? In a Credit Crunch?

I had a fascinating meeting with a senior officer of the Department of Health today to look at access to innovation funding through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and some of the projects under their mentorship. What was particularly surprising is that we are seemingly conditioned to expect that funds are scarce, but actually fewer innovation grants are allocated than are available. A later check in the NIHR Annual Report confirmed that the organisation has an annual sum to spend and that for almost all categories, the 2008/09 spend is less than the forecast for 2009/10- implying that this year was underspent. This is not a criticism because the organisation rightly sets the quality bar high, but it is still a surprise that we're not generating enough good ideas to qualify for funding. Long live the Government's enthusiasm for innovating our way out of the credit crunch... thinking caps on people!