'Improvement Lab' launched to address healthcare challenges


In partnership with the Health Foundation we've launched a new Improvement Lab to address complex challenges in healthcare.

What is the Improvement Lab?

The Q Improvement Lab brings together a community of people from across the health sector including clinicians, patients, policy experts and front line workers, to explore new and innovative approaches to solving problems faced in health and health care.

With health services increasingly strained by financial constraints, rising demand for services and rapidly changing demographics, there is a need to bring together the improvement work that is happening in pockets across the UK. The Q Lab is designed to test solutions that will ultimately bring long-term benefits to patients and those working in the health sector.

How will the Lab operate?

The Lab will focus on a single challenge over a nine to 12 month period, with the first exploring what it would take for peer support to be available to everyone who wants it to help them manage their long-term health and wellbeing needs.

The focus of the first challenge is the result of a Q member survey and a workshop, which brought together Q members and others; patients, clinicians, researchers, charities, think tanks and housing associations. The Lab team will draw on existing research on the value of peer support including the recent Health Foundation and Nesta report Realising the Value which showed the significant benefits to patients that peer support can bring.

The aim is for the Lab to test ideas directly with people working in health and health care, and to quickly feedback and share learning.

What will the first Lab focus on?

The first Lab focusing on peer support will explore the following areas:

  • testing new ideas to improve or expand peer support: working with a number of organisations to build on existing evidence about how to support high quality, effective peer support
  • supporting new collaborations: working with a range of people from different backgrounds and different parts of the health and care system including connecting charities, healthcare services and patients to understand how best to develop joined up peer support approaches
  • bringing new ideas to service provision: creating a space to think outside of health system structures and explore innovative opportunities for peer support that could transform care

Background to the Lab

The Lab was born out of Q, which is a partnership between us and the Health Foundation, and is a community of hundreds of people with expertise in improvement across the UK. Depending on what is learnt through this pilot Lab, which is being independently evaluated, the vision is to establish a small number of additional Labs across the UK in coming years.

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