Julie Reed, CLAHRC NWL’s Deputy Director and Academic Lead, developed a paper titled ‘Qualitative exploration of context using the Model for Understanding Success in Quality (MUSIQ)’ alongside Dr Heather Kaplan for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. The purpose of the paper is to ‘consider the benefits and gaps in applying the Model for Understanding Success in Quality (MUSIQ) to understand the role of context in successful quality improvement (QI).’

Design/Methods/Approach: Secondary analysis was performed on qualitative data collected as part of two studies: (1) a process evaluation of a state wide obstetrical QI initiative, and (2) a qualitative study of the use of Plan-Do-Study Act cycle methods in QI projects. Electronic coding databases from each study were reviewed jointly by the research team. Data analysis was initiated with a deductive approach using MUSIQ as an initial template. Codes were added in an inductive manner.


The paper, which at the time was still a ‘working paper’, was submitted to the ‘Attaining, Sustaining and Spreading Improvement: Art or Science?’ 10th International Organizational Behaviour in Healthcare Conference 2016. Julie Reed and Heather Kaplan were highly commended for their paper and they were successful with winning an award presented by the OBHC.

 “I’m delighted to receive this award in recognition of our paper on context in quality improvement.

The OBHC conference is a very prestigious academic conference so it was a real honour to receive an award from them.

Context is a much-used term in healthcare, but exactly what context is and how to define it remains contested, and many competing definitions exist.  The notion of context is often used to explain why interventions only work “sometimes for some people in some settings”. So better understanding “context” is critical to our ability to reliably deliver improvements in healthcare.

Our research paper uses extensive empirical data to explore what context is and how it influences quality improvement initiatives. We hope that the findings from our work will help clarify what context is and end some of the controversy and confusion about what context is, or isn’t.

The paper was developed in partnership with Dr Heather Kaplan for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, an organisation widely recognised as an international leader in quality improvement. I had been conducting some research in Cincinnati as part of my Improvement Science Fellowship funded by the Health Foundation and our collaboration stemmed from this initial research. It was really enjoyable to work with Heather on this paper and I hope we can continue to collaborate on this work going forward.” – Dr Julie Reed.

The 10th International Organizational Behaviour in Healthcare Conference was hosted by Cardiff Business School, of Cardiff University, on the 4th – 6th April 2016.


The Organization Behaviour in Healthcare Conference is the biennial conference of the Learned Society for the Study of Organising for Healthcare (SHOC). The conference will consider the subject of Attaining, sustaining and spreading Improvement: Art or Science?


The organisers anticipated international submissions from authors across a wide-range of disciplines, including management, healthcare management, nursing, medicine, and social sciences. The OBHC included pre-conference PhD/early career workshops and papers from these groups were particularly welcomed.


Papers submitted were accepted on the following (non-exhaustive) themes:

  • Approaches to and modes of delivering service improvement
  • Lessons from innovations in service improvement
  • How to embed and sustain service improvements over time
  • How to spread and share improvements across, units, organizations, regions and countries
  • The user/patient role in improvement
  • The nature, benefits and challenges of ‘Improvement Science’ and Evidence-based management in medicine
  • Critical healthcare management studies
  • Experiences of ‘Prudent healthcare’/’Choosing wisely’ in driving/delivering improvement.


This prestigious event welcomed PhD students, early career researchers and delegates alike. Keynote speakers included

  • Stephen M. Shortell, PhD, MPH, MBA, a recent recipient of the AHA/HRET TRUST Visionary Leadership Award.
  • Louise Fitzgerald, FAcSS; PhD; BA (Econ.); Diploma in Personnel Management, whose most recent funded project explored issues of knowledge exchange and knowledge mobilization by managers in public and private health care settings.
  • Mark Drakeford AM, Minister for Health and Social Services, who worked as the Cabinet’s health and social policy adviser at the Welsh Government, and was latterly head of the First Minister’s political office.

Dr Julie Reed also spoke and presented at the OBHC conference.