Patient Safety and Quality in Healthcare

Quality Improvement is a formal approach to the analysis of performance and systematic efforts to improve it.

Achieving excellence in health care demands provision of safe and high quality medical services. From the patient’s perspective knowing that health services prioritise safety is important. The clinician strives to know that they are offering high quality care when it comes to the treatments and interventions that they undertake. Society also demands to know that the costs associated with health care are appropriate and value for money.

The challenge we face is that survival after colorectal surgery in the UK is lower than in other European countries and in the United States. Similarly, mortality within 30 days after colorectal surgery varies widely even between surgical providers in the UK. Understanding how high performers, whether they are countries or individual surgeons, achieve the results that they do, will allow us to improve service delivery through quality improvement initiatives and reconfiguration of surgical services.

Much of the research we do at the St Mark’s Centre for Safety and Quality is aimed at utilising large datasets to investigate surgical performance. For this we use ‘big data’ – a term used to describe large national and international medical datasets.

Specific research streams for the Centre for Safety and Quality include:

  • An international comparison of surgical performance in developed countries – to understand how much difference exists (and why) between results of cancer and Inflammatory Bowel Disease surgery amongst developed countries.
  • A national investigation into survival after colorectal surgery – to describe the variation in survival after cancer surgery in England and how service reconfiguration may improve national outcome.
  • A national investigation into management of complications following colorectal surgery.
  • An analysis of access to surgery and health outcome after surgery in the developing world – determining how quality measurement in surgery might lead to quality improvement.