Posted on: 24 January 2018

Building a new QI project

Step 1: Think of a quality improvement you’d like to make in your team

A Quality Improvement (QI) project is defined as a project that uses a systematic approach and specific techniques to improve quality.  The approach we are taking in CNWL is to adopt the Model for Improvement.

A QI project doesn’t need to be complicated. It can be very simple. It is a project based on iterative change, continuous testing and measurement, and run by frontline teams.

Before starting your project it is recommended you watch this QI in Healthcare video from the Institute of Healthcare Improvement (IHI).

Anyone can get involved in a QI project. To get you started you need an idea, the will (a small team to help you achieve your aim) and the execution (your plan to do it).

Step 2 : Think of your improvement goal – your aim

Improvement requires setting an aim. The aim should be time-specific and measurable; it should also define the specific population of patients or staff that will be affected.  Agreeing on the aim is crucial; so is allocating the people and resources necessary to accomplish the aim.

For more info see Tips for Setting Aims on the IHI webpage

Step 3: Speak to your colleagues and start to form your QI Project Team. 

Your QI project team should include your colleagues and always consider including service user involvement. This may be in the form of a service user on your project team or by including patient and carer feedback. When we talk about service user involvement in QI, we refer to little i and Big I.


What does that mean?

Involvement with a little i means asking the people who use your service for ideas, what needs improving, have they noticed the improvements. This can be done via survey, focus groups etc. It is a periodic partnership.

Involvement with a Big I means involving service users and carers directly in your project and QI development and delivery. It is a full and continuous partnership.  

It is recommended you always consider little i and Big I when developing your project.

Little i and Big I on Life QI

You can mark the level of Service User Involvement in your project on the projects screen on Life QI. 

Step 4:  Discuss your idea with your Divisional Clinical QI Lead or a member of the team  via email or you can log your project on Life QI and they will get in touch with you.

Step 5: Look at Life QI for other QI projects happening in the Trust or one that may be similar to yours from another organisation that you can learn from.

Step 6: Get started and good luck!

Spring Quality Improvement learning event – Save the date

We will be hosting our first Quality Improvement Learning Event on 16 April 2018.

The Spring QI Learning Event will be held at Stephenson House and will focus on introducing the Model for Improvement and Quality Improvement Methodology. The event will have some group learning and you will also have an opportunity to book onto three focussed masterclasses to build on your QI knowledge.

The programme for this event and details on how to book will be shared with you in the upcoming weeks.

Life QI  training

Training resources on how to use Life QI is available here

Celebrating QI 

One of CNWL’s QI projects has been featured in the International Journal of Mental Health Systems (published 10 January 2018). Congratulations to the project team.

Implementing guidelines on physical health in the acute mental health setting: a quality improvement approach

In the UK, life expectancy for people living with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, is reduced by 15–20 years compared with the general population. In recent years, evidence based guidelines/policies designed to improve their physical health have been published, yet a gap remains between recommendations and practice. This case study describes how guidelines to support physical health were implemented using a quality improvement approach.

To read more please visit  and click ‘download PDF’.

If your QI project has been published let us know by tweeting us @QiCNWL or emailing