The introduction of both service and technological innovations in healthcare has a significant impact on quality of care and patient safety.  Previous research has shown that the diffusion of these innovations is influenced by a range of factors including: the strength of the evidence, the characteristics of the healthcare team, and the nature of the organisation.

The Programme

The Innovations programme looks at both novel technologies and ways of organising services in relation to safety and quality of care. The programme of work draws from a research priority identified at a national and international level highlighting a need to develop and test safety solutions and actions from a theoretical base and other settings using multi-disciplinary research teams and methods. Projects are theoretically informed from a social science perspective and designed using theory driven evaluation frameworks and using experimental methods where appropriate, paying particular attention to context.

We are addressing topics including communication problems in maternity and acute medicine. Such problems can result in failures in referral, handover and transfer affecting patient safety and quality of care. The focus for this project is on the deteriorating patient and proposed solutions, specifically the structured communication tool which aims to overcome professional and occupational hierarchies.

Another project addresses the safety of emergent health technologies as they are developed and translated into mainstream provision. Some such procedures are assessed through clinical trials, but for many this is not possible. Furthermore, oversight that is normally accorded through research ethics and governance review does not cover the many novel technologies introduced through clinical practice rather than through research. These procedures carry risks to patients, professionals and organisations.