CQC Outstanding is full of references to continuous improvement in services, but in my experience very few organisations are doing this well. Intentional processes for continuous improvement rarely look beyond compliance, and where they do they are often missing out key elements. I think this is an area with significant potential for care organsiations, and have made some suggestions below.
We tend to see two scenarios; either improvement is limited to a narrow domain of compliance, or where there is attention given to the wider business performance, improvement initiatives tend to be ad-hoc, and reliant on a small number of individuals in the service, often those in senior positions.
There is a third scenario that some of our client partners are creating. One where continuous improvement is driven by what the organisation wants to achieve, not just what it wants to fix. Where ideas and opportunities come from all quarters of the organisation and its community. Where a diverse group of people are involved in creative problem solving to work out the best solutions. And where all of this is managed in a consistent, replicable way that isn’t reliant on one ‘star’ individual making it happen. And of course, all of it is easily evidenced to CQC.
As ever in care organisations making the third scenario is complicated. It isn’t just about the processes, it is the wider culture and climate of the organisation, the leadership and skills of the people involved. Process is never a solution on its own, but it is an important part of the picture.
If you want to develop a more holistic approach to continuous improvement, than I suggest asking yourself some of the following questions:
How to identify improvement opportunities across the business?
How to ensure the teams our focused on the core purpose and values of the organisation?
How to involve everyone in identifying opportunities, generating and selecting ideas and implementing them?
How to ensure this is happing on a regular basis?
How to record and evidence what is happening?
Do you have effective continuous improvement processes in place? If you do please share them. If you don’t we’d love to help.