New research focus on the role of communications in healthcare improvement

Swansea University’s Centre for Improvement and Innovation in Health and Social Care, hosted by the College of Human & Health Sciences, and the 1000 Lives Improvement service in NHS Wales have announced an exciting new partnership to develop a research base for the use of communications as a central part of quality improvement.

The research will explore how those involved in healthcare improvement can be supported to apply robust theories in selecting and evaluating the right communication tools and approaches for their change initiatives.

“We are delighted to be working with 1000 Lives Improvement to explore the role of communication and its critical contribution to the success and sustainability of improving healthcare services,” said Dr Sharon Williams, lead for the Centre. “Drawing from various disciplines, we hope to develop an evidence-base that supports and integrates the use of communication theories and practices into quality improvement.”

To support this new focus, Andrew Cooper from 1000 Lives Improvement has taken up an honorary position with the Centre as a senior research associate. Andrew led the communications for the 1000 Lives Campaign and much of its subsequent work and has been leading both a local and international focus on the role of communications in improvement. This has included the design of an international charter for organisations to ensure that communication is embedded in improvement work right from the start.

“Whilst the role and contribution of communications is well acknowledged and recognised in the public health domain and other sectors of healthcare, it remains under-examined and under-used in the quality improvement arena,” said Andrew. “This new opportunity will be important in creating a sound evidence-base and ensuring that the contribution of communications is more widely understood, valued – and applied.”

Dr Aidan Fowler, Directorof Quality Improvement and Patient Safety in NHS Wales and the 1000 LivesImprovement service, said:This is an important and timely partnership – through Andrew’s work, Wales has led the way on communications in improvement. Now, working with Swansea University we will be able to support this work with an academic rigor and ensure it becomes an essential part of improvement.”