Quality and Safety in European Union Hospitals

A Research-based Guide for Implementing Best Practice and a Framework for Assessing Performance (QUASER)

King's PSSQ is taking the lead on a major international research project - Quality and Safety in European Union Hospitals: A Research-based Guide for Implementing Best Practice and a Framework for Assessing Performance (QUASER). A 3 million Euro grant has been secured from the EU for the work.

The three year study, which kicked off in April 2010, will explore the relationships between the organisational and cultural characteristics of hospitals, and how these impact upon clinical effectiveness, patient safety and patient experience in European Union countries. 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, Netherlands; Qulturum, Jönköping County Council, Sweden; Instituto Superior de Ciências do Trabalho e da Empresa (ISCTE), Lisbon, Portugal.

The key objectives of the project are to identify organisational and cultural characteristics linked to the effectiveness, safety and patient experience of hospital care, and the quantitative and qualitative indicators of this. Data will be collected in 10 hospitals in the five partner countries (two in each of the five partner countries), with additional studies of two clinical microsystems in five of these (one in each of the partner countries).

Whilst there is a good understanding of the types of quality improvement undertaken in healthcare, 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 from macro (national healthcare system) down through the meso (hospital) to micro (frontline clinical team) levels 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.

This research will enable the team to deliver effective products to hospital leaders, based on the realities of implementing quality improvement programmes, and findings will be used to design and disseminate an evidence-based Quality and Safety Guide for Hospitals. This will be a 'best practice' framework to guide hospitals on implementing effective organisation-wide quality and safety improvement initiatives. A Framework for Assessing Hospital Quality will also be compiled, enabling purchasers of hospital services and governments throughout the EU to monitor and assess the effectiveness, safety and patient experience of hospital care.

Project contact details:-

  • Kings' PSSQ (Coordinator) - Professor Naomi Fulop, 
  • The Imperial Centre for Patient Safety and Service Quality (CPSSQ) - www.cpssq.org - Susan Burnett,
  • The Department of Health Studies at the University of Stavanger, Norway - http://www.uis.no - Karina Aase,
  • The Department of Health Policy & Management, Erasmus University, Netherlands - http://www.bmg.eur.nl/english/ - Roland Bal,
  • Jönköping Academy for Improvement of Health and Welfare and Jönköping County Council, Sweden - www.jonkopingacademy.se and www.lj.se - Boel Andersson-Gare,
  • Instituton Superior de Ciências do Trabalho e da Empresa (ISCTE), Lisbon, Portugal - http://iscte.pt - Francisco Nunes,   

Publications:-

Robert, G. Anderson, J. Burnett, S. Aase, K. Andersson-Gare, B. Bal, R. Caltorp, J. Nunes, F. Weggelaar, AM. Vincent, C. Fulop, N. (2011) A longitudinal, multi-level comparative study of quality and safety in European hospitals: the QUASER study protocol. BMC Health Services Research 2011, 11:285. PubMed