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Exploring the role of communications in quality improvement: A case study of the 1000 Lives Campaign in NHS Wales

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posted by WM Admin on 20 March 2015

The 1000 Lives Campaign (‘Campaign’) was a large-scale national QI collaborative that aimed to save an additional 1000 lives and prevent 50 000 episodes of harm in Welsh health care over a 2-year period. The authors use the Campaign as a case study to describe the development, application, and impact of a communications strategy embedded in a large-scale QI initiative.

A comprehensive communications strategy guided communications work during the Campaign. The main aims of the communications strategy were to engage the hearts and minds of frontline National Health Service (NHS) staff in the Campaign and promote their awareness and understanding of specific QI interventions and the wider patient safety agenda. The authors used qualitative and quantitative measures to monitor communications outputs and assess how the communications strategy influenced awareness and knowledge of frontline NHS staff.

The communications strategy facilitated clear and consistent framing of Campaign messages and allowed dissemination of information related to the range of QI interventions. It reaffirmed the aim and value of the Campaign to frontline staff, thereby promoting sustained engagement with Campaign activities. The communications strategy also built the profile of the Campaign both internally with NHS organizations across Wales and externally with the media, and played a pivotal role in improving awareness and understanding of the patient safety agenda. Ultimately, outcomes from the communications strategy could not be separated from overall Campaign outcomes.

The authors conclude that systematic and structured communications can support and enhance QI initiatives. From their experience, they developed a ‘communications bundle’ consisting of six core components. They recommend that communications bundles be incorporated into existing QI methodology, though details should be tailored to the specific context and available resource.

This is an open access article and is available to read in free full text at:  http://dx.doi.org/10.1179/1753807615Y.0000000006

Cooper, A., et al. (2015). Exploring the role of communications in quality improvement: A case study of the 1000 Lives Campaign in NHS Wales. Journal of Communication in Healthcare, 8(1), 76-84.