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Integrating Implementation Science in a Quality and Patient Safety Improvement Learning Collaborative: Essential Ingredients and Impact.
There is a current lack of research exploring the contextual factors of why and how quality improvement collaboratives (QICs) work. To this end, a mixed methods study was undertaken to improve our understanding of what works for whom and in what context among participants in a nationwide Canadian QIC.

The authors used a mixed methods approach consisting of a written survey and 30-to-45-minute telephone interviews with collaborative team members, coaches, and senior leaders of participating safety improvement project (SIP) organizations to identify the essential elements of an integrated approach involving implementation science/knowledge translation, quality improvement (QI), patient safety, and collaborative learning/networked approach to enhancing safety and quality and building implementation capabilities. Survey data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Interview data were analyzed by three team members using thematic analysis and development of an emergent coding schema.

Four themes emerged as the essential elements: (1) integrating implementation science into the QI/patient safety learning collaborative; (2) reinforcing of and opening eyes to implementation science by an expert implementation specialist; (3) valuing the sense making and strategies shared by coaches; and (4) experiencing challenges to implementation amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. Teams also reported improvements in teamwork and patient outcomes as a result of participating in the QIC.

This study's findings provide deeper insight into the "essential ingredients" (expert implementation specialist, coaches) grounded in an integrated approach that drew from QI, patient safety, and implementation science. Organizations can use the key learnings on how best to implement quality and safety projects by leveraging the sense making of the expert implementation specialist and coaches in an integrated networked learning approach.
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