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BMJ Quality in distance learning

by | Oct 7, 2015 | Case Studies

Healthcare professionals at the front line are often unsure of their role in improving quality and how to influence change. Quality improvement is now becoming part of the training and on-going assessment for healthcare professionals.

This means that increasingly doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals worldwide will be required to
engage with activities and projects that improve healthcare quality and safety which in turn make a real difference to patients. However, there are massive gaps and inconsistencies in standards, training, activity levels and outcomes.

Many managers are primarily concerned with efficiencies, providing value and reducing costs. Clinicians and other healthcare professionals have very little knowledge or expertise in this field which makes quality improvement a complex challenge for healthcare internationally. Frontline staff, such as hospital porters or catering managers, and even patients themselves can often have the biggest impact on quality improvement, but have seldom been influential before this innovative approach from the BMJ.

The BMJ has been an important vehicle for sharing knowledge and best practice amongst healthcare professionals, but the time and rigours of the publishing process meant that smaller or less ‘academic’ quality improvement projects often go unfinished, unrecorded or are done in isolation.

The learning solution

To address this issue, the BMJ developed a flexible and comprehensive programme to support those undertaking healthcare quality improvement projects – often for the first time. Project teams are helped to select a project, guided through the process, and encouraged to complete and write up their project. Learning, mentoring and opportunities for collaboration and publication are all combined in the BMJ programme, with over 200 projects completed to date in hospitals and healthcare centres up and down the country, raising the quality of patient care and hospital practice.

The BMJ Quality Improvement Reports journal aims to publish a high volume of quality improvement reports to help healthcare professionals document and share innovations and excellence in care.

Top tips for large scale online distance learning

  • Involve the end users in the design – ask for their feedback and be prepared to act on it
  • In return, provide expert or peer feedback to these users to increase the value of the programme to them
  • Keep the platform flexible enough to respond to diverse needs
  • Support a collaborative approach to learning – BMJ learners could work in local teams – or could pull a new project team together from hospitals around the world that shared a common challenge
  • Seek contributions to the resource content from renowned and respected subject matter experts that add quality and kudos to the programme
  • Invite your key subject matter experts to contribute to the internal community
  • Reward individuals for taking part – for example through certification, badges or CPD points.
  • Gather and publish feedback as part of a cycle of continuous improvement – including all the various stakeholders in the process

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