First day of SDHI conference ‘Making Healthcare Safer: Learning from Social and Organisational Research’ produced stimulating debates

The first day of the two day conference held in St Andrews by SDHI in collaboration with NHS Education for Scotland, the Health Foundation and the Scottish Patient Safety Research Network was attended by around 80 academic researchers, health professionals, and policy makers. The format of the conference combines plenary addresses, breakout sessions, poster displays and informal networking opportunities in a relaxed atmosphere and environment at St Andrews University. In his keynote, Dr Teun Zuiderent-Jerak, Institute of Health Policy and Management, Erasmus University in Rotterdam, Netherlands highlighted the tension between standardisation in guideline development and guideline based practice on the one hand, and the need to tailor care and interventions in a flexible manner. He suggested that it may be time to move away from a simple dichotomy between individual vs universal towards a ‘situated concept of standardisation’. Not one size fits all but a sensitivity towards context factors that may influence the delivery and success of intervention practices. Dr Brian Robson, Executive Clinical Director at Healthcare Improvement Scotland and Quality Improvement Fellow of the Health Foundation highlighted the wide-ranging successes in patient safety and care improvement in Scotland. The adoption and tailored implementation of the Breakthrough Series Quality Improvement Methodology has underpinned these profound developments. The morning concluded with poster displays of presenters from around the UK and Canada. Delegates had ample opportunities to discuss the quality improvement interventions and research findings. One of the breakout sessions in the afternoon focused on how health professionals conceptualise and communicate risk. Another highlighted a Patient Safety initiative in the NHS Grampian health board, while a third session included two presentations on organisational infrastructure and culture and their influences on patient safety.
The last plenary presentation of the day by Professor Brendan McCormack focused on the need for transformational learning as a key facet of organisational change and practice development. A fundamentally different approach to learning is required to create a creative, dynamic and truly person-centred care approach.

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