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Supporting Guidance Standard 3.3

Health and Care Standards

Supporting Guidance

Standard 3.3 Quality Improvement, Research and Innovation


What is the Standard about?

This standard requires organisations, services and teams to use recognised quality improvement methods to improve the safety, reliability and quality and experience of care for patients, service users and carers, and staff.

It also involves promoting and supporting research, development and innovation to improve efficiency and effectiveness within the NHS in line with the principles of prudent healthcare.


Who is it for?

All health service and settings including those who participate in research, development and innovation.

In relation to the standard criteria (in bold) the following key questions need to be considered

Local capacity and capability is developed to support and enable teams to identify and address local improvement priorities, including participation in audit and recognised quality improvement methodologies, activities and programmes.

  • How is Improving Quality Together being integrated within local training programmes and supported locally?
  • How is the Framework for Assuring Service User Experience used to ensure all feedback including compliments, concerns and complaints drive improvement?
  • How does the service/organisation learn and make improvements following external inspection and review?
  • How is clinical audit aligned to the broader strategic interest?
  • How is the suitability of the local audit programme agreed?
  • How do you manage competing clinical audit priorities?
  • How to you embed PPI in your quality improvement programme?
  • What training and education do you provide to support the audit programme and to ensure the work directly drives service improvement?

Progress is measured, recorded and learning is shared.

  • How are improvements evidence based?
  • How are improvements tracked over time using relevant data that is accessible and shared across the organisation?
  • How is learning shared across the organisation, with patients and the public?

There is consistent application of the principles and requirements of the Framework for Health and Social Care Research and Development.

  • How do you ensure that the principles and requirements of the Framework for Health and Social Care Research and Development are being applied?
  • How do you involve patients, service users and carers, as appropriate, in the design, conduct and reporting of research?
  • What are your monitoring arrangements in clinical trials? E.g. indemnity arrangements, robust pharmacovigilance systems.
  • How do you ensure you inform the necessary regulatory bodies?  E.g. research involving medicines notified to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.

Research and innovation has a direct impact on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of services, delivering better health and well being outcomes for people, and improving the experience of care.

  • Do you have a strategy?
  • How does your research and innovation strategy(ies)/plans align with your organisation’s plans and services?
  • How do you demonstrate that supported research and innovation has had a direct impact on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of services and delivering better health and wellbeing outcomes for people? (See also Standard 3.1)
  • How do you drive adoption of better practice and products?
  • How do you ensure that poor practice and products are discarded?
  • What structures and systems do you have to support improvement (including product development)?
  • How do you measure outcomes from research and innovation undertaken within your organisation?
  • How do you ensure that research and innovation activity is itself subject to continuous evaluation and improvement?
  • How do you ensure that your organisation is working towards achieving the Health and Care Research Wales objectives, key indicators and targets for research and development in Wales?
  • How do you ensure compliance with reporting schedules specified in the NHS Research & Development Allocations Delivery and Monitoring Frameworks?
  • Does your organisation have in place robust mechanisms to ensure that the various reports – operational plan, annual report and mid year reports are completed and submitted within the specified timescales?
  • How do you manage ‘concerns’ relating to research and what mechanisms are in place to learn from them?
  • How do you assess and manage risks associated with research and innovation?
  • How do you safeguard children or vulnerable adults involved in research?

There is a structured approach to promoting and supporting research and Innovation and it is applied in every day practice.

  • How do you make the outcome of research available in a format that is understandable to patients and the wider public?
  • How do you ensure that your approach to research and innovation is well understood, throughout and beyond your organisation?
  • How do you ensure that resources to support research and innovation are easy to find, easy to access, and widely used?
  • How do you ensure that these resources are not only used but also appropriate and effective?
  • How do you build research and innovation capability within your organisation – skills, expertise, confidence and experience?
  • How do you manage risk associated with research and innovation?
  • How do you celebrate and reward success?
  • How do you mobilise knowledge and share learning? 
  • How do you involve patients and the public including ensuring diversity and equality of access – promoting research participation, ensuring informed consent, inviting new ideas?

There is clear visible leadership and a strong collaborative approach with university and industry partners.

  • What systems do you have in place to encourage and strengthen external partnership working and collaboration with university and industry partners?
  • How do you ensure a visible leadership commitment to research and innovation?

Quality of clinical records is improved through implementing standards which enable re-use of the data for research.

  • Please refer to the questions within the supporting guidance for Standards 3.4 Information Governance and 3.5 Record Keeping to demonstrate how this criteria is being met.


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