This year, London hosted the 34th international scientific meeting of the International Society of Quality in Health Care (ISQua), where members of the CLAHRC Northwest London team presented in a variety of sessions over the 4 days contributing to the theme of the conference: ‘Learning at the System Level to Improve Healthcare Quality and Safety’.

“The total presence of CLAHRC NWL at ISQua was pretty high including 5 presentations, 6 posters and 1 ePoster presentation. I reconnected with many people I’ve met over the years and introduced them to others.  ISQua 2017 saw me reaffirm contact with the wider imperial team including Paul Aylin, Alex Bottle and King’s college partner Vasa Curcin and his team. Not to mention, international contacts including, former cardiothoracic surgeon, Professor Cliff Hughes, professor of Patient Safety and Clinical Quality at Macquarie University. Senior Vice President of the Quality & Performance Institute at University Research Co., LLC, Dr. Massoud, a physician and public health specialist internationally recognized for his leadership in global health care improvement;  and Ms Daisy Chou and team from National Taiwan University Hospital’s Center for Quality Management    周家玉-” – Dr Alan Poots, Principal Information Analyst.


The pre-conference programme started on Sunday with the day dedicated to meeting the challenge of spread and scale up for improvement, sponsored by The Health Foundation. Prof Julie Reed, Improvement Science Fellow and CLAHRC Deputy Director, outlined some of the challenges of spread and scale-up based on international work that has been developed as the Frontiers of Improvement. Julie provided an outline of the unique role and perspectives different disciplines bring to improvement science using the example of the Anamorphic Cube, which represents different images or figures, depending on the angle that the viewer takes. The cube offers an analogy to the way that perspectives in improvement science might be viewed to explore their different facets. Following the presentation Julie also contributed to the panel discussion on how some of these challenges maybe met.

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The following days included several poster presentations from the Improvement Science and Quality Improvement and Public Health and Information Intelligence teams describing research undertaken in improvement science across the NHS in northwest London and more nationally. This included a presentation from Prof Reed and Neil Stillman, based on work he undertook as a Imperial Master of Public Health student in 2016. They outlined the value of applying the concept of ‘Hard Core’ and ‘Soft Periphery’ to complex clinical interventions to support shared learning between quality improvement initiatives. This approach has now been developed to apply in a range of clinical interventions including interventions in medications management, heart failure, physical health monitoring and paediatric allergies.

The final day concluded with a workshop within the ‘Data to drive decision making and health policy’ session which saw a number of CLAHRC researchers present work that had been undertaken to measure frailty from different perspectives. The session was delivered by Tomasz Symanski, David Sunkering, Dr Alan Poots and Dr John Soong, and offered a unique perspective through the “eyes of the patient” using examples of the patient narrative and other methodologies to measure aspects of frailty, at each step of the patient journey from the community into acute secondary care.

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“Attending ISQua 2017 was a great opportunity to meet, learn and hear from a wide range of people across a number of different healthcare settings on a global scale.

Having a solid CLAHRC NWL presence at ISQua – ranging from poster presentations to oral presentations and workshops – illustrated our commitment to the promotion and continuous improvement in the quality and safety of health care nationally and internationally.” David Sunkersing, PhD student for Frailty theme.

Whilst the theme of the conference emphasised the need for learning at the system level, it’s also important to recognise that many initiatives that aim to improve quality and safety in healthcare are delivered at the clinical front-line and need nurturing and support to be able to respond to local needs. This was reflected in the research showcased at ISQUA that has been undertaken by CLAHRC researchers, which ranges from conceptual discussions about sharing learning, case studies demonstrating what it takes to improve healthcare and data-driven studies to better explore issues with understanding quality. CLAHRC Northwest London is in a privileged position to be able to offer day-to-day support and development to clinical initiatives but also to affect change within the system, both locally and nationally, through capacity building and our research activities.


To see information about CLAHRC NWL presence and presentations at ISQua 2017 visit our previous blog.