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What we do

ISL is, by design, a small enterprise which aims to encourage and help people to utilise research evidence more effectively for the benefit of patients. Our aim is not to deliver substantive programmes of work – this is the role of established organisations and teams across London, such as the individual Academic Health Science Networks; the Collaborations for Leadership and Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRCs) which have been established in North Central and North East London, North West London and South London; universities and health care providers and commissioners across the capital. We work closely with these organisations as partners, where and when they think it benefits their activities.

ISL adds value to this work in two ways:

  • We help to form new networks and partnerships to undertake time-limited demonstration projects.
  • We design innovative approaches to creating new knowledge and to using established evidence.

Once the projects or ideas that ISL has catalysed reach a reasonable stage of maturity, they are then handed over to our partners. For example, our work on engaging the public with health care information, developed in partnership with the Greater London Authority in 2012, (London Connect) is now being led by Samantha Meikle on behalf of Health Innovation Network South London. Similarly, our work on Cardiovascular Disease Prevention benchmarking has being taken forward by UCLPartners on behalf of all of the London Academic Health Science Networks.   In addition, our work with the HELP-Diabetes team from UCL on implementing at scale their on-line self-management programme for type 2 diabetes has resulted in a growing interest amongst CCGs across London in implementing this innovative initiative developed by Professor Elizabeth Murray’s team.

Read more about Improvement Science London’s Strategy.

Current activities

  • We are working with partner Academic Health Science Centres (AHSCs) to help to develop their capacities and capabilities in the field of Improvement Science.
  • We are building a network of individuals and organisations interested in promoting and imbedding the science of improvement across London. For example, we are now working with the London Acute Kidney Injury Network on the design and evaluation of a large scale quality improvement initiative.
  • We are working with our partners to improve the way that London citizens and service professionals use information to improve their health and care experiences and outcomes through the London Connect project.
  • In partnership with the London Deanery and funded by NHS London, we have evaluated a Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) innovative quality improvement intervention in which 20 clinical Quality Improvement Fellows will be working with established BHRUT staff across a range of medical and maternity priority areas.
  • We are establishing a benchmarking initiative led by the front line clinicians and managers across London, focusing on how to improve current benchmarking data and use those data to improve services for patients.
  • We are supporting applications for doctoral and post doctoral improvement science fellowships, for example the Health Foundation Improvement Science Fellowships
  • We are starting to experiment with different approaches to utilising and creating scientific evidence about how best to organise and deliver services. These include:
    • understanding how summaries of best evidence are used by managers and clinicians to influence their decision making process.  In particular we are interested in how research evidence is dealt with alongside other factors that influence management decisions such as political pragmatism, personal experience or ideology
    • promoting ways of creating new evidence about how to improve services by undertaking large scale improvement projects in the health service which are designed and evaluated by service providers, users and academics in close partnership. The aim is to breakdown the traditional barriers between academically based research projects and service based improvement projects
    • experimenting with a more pragmatic and small scale approach to process evaluation or service improvement work, so that all improvement efforts result in transferable learning even when the resources are not available for large scale rigorous evaluation
    • consider the pros and cons of placing a senior health service researcher into the senior management team of provider and commissioner organisations, so that they share a clear collective responsibility for delivery, negotiating their expertise with the expertise held by managers and clinicians. We are calling this the researcher in residence model.
  • Working with the Health Quality Improvement Partnership, Dominique Allwood explored the utility of the national clinical audit programme to support local improvement activities. The final report is being used by HQIP to develop a new strategy to improve the impact of their national audit programme.