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Improvement collaboratives in healthcare

Published: 1st July 2014

This scan compiles research about whether quality improvement collaboratives are effective.
Quality improvement collaboratives involve groups of professionals coming together, either from within an organisation or across multiple organisations, to learn from and motivate each other to improve the quality of health services. Collaboratives often use a structured approach, such as setting targets and undertaking rapid cycles of change.

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Collaboratives have been used as an improvement approach in health care for the past 20 years or so, but with mixed results. In the NHS, collaboratives have been proposed as a potential vehicle for change so it is important to ensure that the design of these initiatives makes the best use of evidence about what works to enable a successful collaborative approach.

This evidence scan therefore addresses the questions:

  • are collaboratives effective for improving the quality of health care?
  • what factors may be associated with success?

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