Patient Safety Now Tops CQC Strategy

July 27, 2021 RLDatix Marketing

The CQC recently launched its strategy for 2021 and beyond where the importance of safety has been significantly upgraded.  The new strategy builds on experience and learnings from the past five years along with input and feedback from the public, service providers and CQC partners, of which RLDatix is proud to be one.

In short, having consistently underperformed for years, safety is now firmly top of the CQC agenda. The document ‘A new strategy for the changing world of health and social care’ outlines the CQC’s commitment to ensure that health and care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care, and to ensure continuous improvement.

The CQC has set its ambitions into four themes, which are: 

  • People and communities – regulation driven by people’s needs and experiences, focusing on what is important to people and communities when they access, use and move between services
  • Smarter regulation – smarter, more dynamic and flexible regulation that provides up-to-date and high-quality information and ratings, easier ways of working with the CQC and a more proportionate response
  • Safety through learning- Regulating for stronger safety cultures across health and care, prioritising learning and improvement and collaborating to value everyone’s perspectives
  • Accelerating improvement – enabling health and care services and local systems to access support to help improve the quality of care where it’s needed most

The enabling theme that ties all of the CQC’s aspirations together, and which will enable individual healthcare providers to align with these aspirations, is better use of data.  Data used well, will drive a fairer, just culture, will support the collection of patient feedback, and enable learnings from patient safety incidents and good or outstanding practice.

GRC approach to Continuous Improvement

Better handling of data under the three pillars of Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) enables healthcare providers to share good practice, learn what works from each other, and avoid harm to patients. When gathered thoughtfully via connected systems, data can be collected once and used many times, which saves administration time, allowing staff to focus on providing the best care possible.

Knowing how the data will be used and seeing the results encourages people to continue providing information. It fosters trust and transparency and can help to engender a just culture, where people are able to speak up without fear of blame.  As reporting increases, it provides more detail from which to learn and base decisions, making its own virtuous circle.

Taking a holistic, GRC approach to managing this kind of information with a single provider, such as RLDatix, which is used by over 80% of the NHS provides economies of scale, familiarity for users and the power to analyse data from across diverse locations and healthcare systems. 

People and communities – Listening and acting

The CQC wants to make it easier for people, their families and advocates to give feedback, and to make the most of existing sources of feedback so that people don’t need to repeat themselves. In addition, providers will be expected to respond meaningfully to feedback, explaining how it has helped to improve services.

As well as listening to what patients have to say, healthcare organisations also need to listen to what their staff have to say. The CQC has stated that working collaboratively with multiple health service providers is key to improving quality and safety of care. The greater emphasis on responding to feedback from patients and staff will require connected systems, such as DCIQ, with workflows and alerts that make it easy for people to do the right thing.

As healthcare organisations collaborate more and more, having the right tools in place will enable the sharing of information between providers to further understand themes and trends in safety, risk and quality across ICSs (in England). Patient safety and risk management software that is used by all providers can add major value by streamlining the capture and sharing of data through independent systems, with one centralised business intelligence tool allowing organisations to gain a better understanding of data across multiple systems.

GRC solutions for healthcare are gaining traction as providers look to move from a reactive stance towards patient safety, risk, and compliance to a more proactive one that puts the patient at the centre of everything concerning their care. The DCIQ patient safety platform provides a comprehensive set of modules such as Risk and Incident reporting, Feedback, InvestigationsRecommendations and Controls, and Safety Learnings. The platform enables healthcare organisations to collect information from staff, and analyse that data to highlight patient safety concerns, spot trends, mitigate risks, and to enable learning from experience and to share those learnings organisation-wide and beyond.

Smarter Regulation – Reducing the burden of reporting

The CQC is placing a much higher focus on identifying risk and focusing on where they can have the greatest impact. Collecting data once, analysing and using it many times is a recurring theme. This can be achieved more easily when the same platform is in widespread use throughout the healthcare system. An example of this is how NHS Wales selected RLDatix to implement a comprehensive risk and compliance management solution for its Once for Wales Concerns Management System, to standardise patient safety approaches and share critical trends, insights and recommendations across the nation. 

This approach to smarter regulation will filter down to each healthcare organisation and, indeed the CQC are developing digital platforms that will better integrate the data that the CQC holds.

Safety through learning – Bringing safety to the top of the agenda

Safety is consistently the poorest performer in CQC assessments, and as a result has now been made the top priority focus. The CQC’s aim is that every healthcare organisation should be looking to create a stronger safety culture, focusing on learning, improving expertise and listening and acting on people’s experiences.

We have written at length about how a Just Culture, one that does not blame the individual when things go wrong, but looks instead at the system and processes, is the way to improve safety in healthcare. Supporting a strong safety culture, where risks are not overlooked, ignored or hidden for fear of the consequences, means that staff can report concerns openly. DCIQ allows people to report feedback, knowing that they will be acknowledged and that an action plan will be put in place to address that feedback.  

When an incident reporting solution is easy to use, and there is no fear of blame, people report more freely and more often. More data means more opportunities to learn and improve, particularly when a system is used to underpin and share those learnings more widely, leading to a greater safety culture.

The DCIQ Recommendations and Controls module identifies the right improvement strategies to ensure a joined-up and forward-looking approach to managing safety and improving quality. It provides cost benefit analysis, creates organisational memory of why quality improvement strategies were implemented and helps to breakdown data silos by uncovering and collating common recommendations from disparate sources.

With DCIQ Safety Learnings healthcare organisations can generate learnings from any incident or feedback record, including examples of excellence, and link each safety learning record to any number of incidents, feedback or investigation records. Connecting learnings to specific contacts, locations and services, means that users can quickly identify learnings most relevant to them, for example, good instances of care.  The module creates a community hub for good practice learnings, creating a collaborative learning culture.

A formal patient safety solution, such as the RLDatix Safety Learnings module enables leaders and staff to demonstrate compliance and commitment to safety. When the same solution is used across a complete healthcare system, data is gathered in a consistent manner so that different services within a system can be compared and good practice shared, while keeping the data collected pertinent and relevant to each service.

Accelerating improvement – RLDatix is your key Partner

Collaboration across local services is a key to providing safe care for patients. There is an increasing focus on sharing information, sharing learnings and ensuring that local systems demonstrate a culture of improvement. RLDatix is able to provide a patient safety platform that can be finetuned to meet the needs of individual services and departments, while providing the mechanisms to collaborate and contribute to the wider patient safety agenda.

For more information about how RLDatix can help your organisation to adopt a just culture where patient safety is a top priority, and better align with the new CQC strategy for patient and social care, contact us today.

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