Improvement Science and Research Methods seminar September 2021: Prof Niro Siriwardena on Understanding and applying quality improvement methods

The first Improvement Science and Research Methods Seminar of this academic year was given online via Teams on 27 October July 2021 by Professor Niro Siriwardena on the topic of ‘Understanding and applying quality improvement methods.’ Niro is Professor of Primary and Prehospital Health Care at the University of Lincoln and director of CaHRU. He trained in medicine at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical College London and in general practice in Lincolnshire, followed by research training at Nottingham and De Montfort Universities.

The seminar aimed to provide an introduction to quality and quality improvement, the methods used to improve and evaluate quality of care and how this has been applied to a range of studies. It was based on a forthcoming book, ‘Quality in Health Care’, co-authored by Niro and Dr Maria Kordowicz, visiting research fellow at CaHRU, and due to be published by Sage in 2022. It also featured work from the CaHRU team and NHS partners over the past two decades.

After introducing the topic of quality, quality improvement and the idea of improvement domains, the need for ethical quality improvement was emphasised and presented in terms of the triad of clinical effectiveness, patient safety and patient experience. The idea of quality improvement as ‘troubleshooting’ was explained and the importance of focussing on processes, together with techniques to analyse, present and improve processes discussed. The use of driver diagrams, logic models and programme theory was used to illustrate the need for theory based improvement. Frameworks including the model for improvement, clinical audit and plan-do-study-act cycles were presented and compared. This was followed by a brief overview of measurement using statistical process control (run, control charts and funnel plots).

REST LogoFinally, the techniques were illustrated with examples from the the Resources for Effective Sleep Treatment (REST) and Ambulance Services Cardiovascular Quality Improvement (ASCQI) studies, funded by The Health Foundation. If you would like to view a recording of the presentation click here.

If you would like to attend this or future seminars please contact Sue Bowler (, Research Administrator at CaHRU. Our next seminar is on 24 November 1100 on the topic of questionnaire validation and will be given by Dr Vanessa Botan. 

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