A new research institute is hoping to create a world-leading asset for the NHS by improving the science behind healthcare organisation and delivery. The Healthcare Improvement Studies Institute (THIS Institute), led by the University of Cambridge, follows the principle that efforts to improve care should always be based on the highest quality evidence. Some evidence will be created by NHS patients and staff through citizen science methods in large-scale research projects, building a digital platform to crowdsource research ideas and collect data from NHS staff and patients, including their opinions on quality indicators and equipment design. The institute is the result of the largest single grant ever made by independent charity the Health Foundation.
Professor Mary Dixon-Woods, director of the THIS Institute, said: “If you ask people to describe the future of healthcare, they might describe a shiny vision of new treatments and technologies.
“These kinds of innovations are important. But how healthcare is organised and delivered, including its basic systems and processes, has perhaps just as much impact, and sometimes more, on patient outcomes and experience.”
She explained that the institute is looking for expertise in new places to address the challenges of healthcare, which needs to involve a greater variety of people with diverse experiences.
“Some of this expertise will come directly from patients – us, you, me – working alongside healthcare staff and other professionals such as engineers and designers,” she added.