Quality and Quality Improvement in Healthcare

Module code: MD7455

Module co-ordinators: Dr Brad Manktelow and Dr Helen Eborall

In this module you will investigate major approaches to quality in healthcare, with a particular emphasis on approaches to improvement. Starting with a brief history of the quality movement, we will characterise challenges in conceptualising and measuring quality. We will consider the strengths, weaknesses and evidence bases of the major approaches to improving healthcare quality and look at policy approaches to improving the organisation and delivery of healthcare. We will also explore methods for improvement that have been adapted from industry and other non-healthcare sectors. 

Topics covered

  • History of quality and safety in healthcare
  • Challenges in conceptualising and defining quality
  • Major policy approaches to quality in healthcare, including regulation, large-scale data collection, public reporting, clinical guidelines and institutional arrangements
  • Rationale for undertaking quality improvement (QI) in healthcare
  • Leading approaches to QI and their applicability to different contexts
  • Role of programme theories and logic models in QI efforts
  • Role of PDSA cycles in QI efforts
  • Methods for evaluating QI efforts
  • Theories of dissemination and implementation of improvement interventions


  • 10 one-hour lectures
  • 20 two-hour seminars
  • 10 one-hour practicals


  • Group presentation (20%)
  • Written report, 1,500 words (30%)
  • Case study, 2,000 words (50%)