Today’s doctors need good quality data from a variety of sources to measure the care they are providing for patients. A new toolkit from the Royal College of Physicians aims to help physicians draw together relevant information to understand the quality of care that they and their team provide.
Acute Care Toolkit 11: Using data to improve care includes a description of the main types of data, how they should and should not be interpreted, and how they can be used to improve care for patients.
The toolkit explains that as most quantitative data is not really useful at individual clinician level, doctors should focus on collecting, analysing and using qualitative data in their own practice. This includes learning from clinical incidents and complaints, using feedback from staff and colleagues, reviewing the case notes of patients who have died, taking part in local and national audits, and organising ‘look back and learn’ meetings.
Although not intended as a comprehensive guide to using data, the toolkit is a startpoint for action for all physicians, includes a handy glossary of terms and an explanation of standardised mortality measures, and is fully referenced so that doctors can follow up the suggestions in more detail in the source documents.
Dr Ben Bray, quality improvement fellow in the RCP’s Clinical Effectiveness and Evaluation unit (CEEU) and toolkit author said:
‘Using data effectively is becoming an increasingly important skill for physicians and this toolkit will help clinicians in finding, understanding and using healthcare data to make improvements in the care that patients receive’.
Dr Kevin Stewart, clinical director of the RCP’s Clinical Effectiveness and Evaluation Unit (CEEU) and toolkit author, said:
‘The NHS is awash with data, but we are not very good at translating this into meaningful information that can be used to understand and improve quality of care. We hope that we have been able to provide clinicians with the tools to be able to select the best measures for different circumstances, understand their strengths and limitations, and apply them in their day to day practice to improve the care they give their patients’. Notes to Editors
The toolkit will be available to download free from the RCP website.