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Research and Quality

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The Research Office is committed to improving quality of patient care, health services efficiency and integration through efforts to build and support quality improvement initiatives and scholarly activities. 

Facilitating a focus on quality, the Research Office seeks opportunities where quality improvement and research may intersect. 

Where do Quality Improvement (QI) and Research meet?

  • The tested intervention involves deviation from established practices
  • There are clear, measurable aims and a timeline for achieving them
  • A rigorous design is possible without disrupting normal work unduly
  • Everything possible is done not to sacrifice data quality and completeness
  • Careful attention is paid to ethics
  • Publication is anticipated throughout the work

Both research and quality improvement are systematic investigations that may involve human participants but they differ in important ways. The table below helps to distinguish between research and quality improvement and is adapted from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute.

Research QI

Primary Purpose

Designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge.

Designed to implement knowledge, assess a process or program as judged by established/accepted standards.

Starting Point Knowledge seeking is independent of routine care and intended to answer a question or test a hypothesis. Knowledge seeking is integral to ongoing management system for delivering healthcare.
Audience Typically the external scientific community. Mainly internal to the organization or local in nature.
Participation Commonly optional (a waiver of consent may be granted). Often not optional; participating in the evaluation of QI can be optional.
Risk/Burden to Participants Can be substantial and therefore rigorous mitigation strategies are required. Probable, but often minimal to moderate thus requiring less rigorous mitigation strategies.
Design/Methods Follows a rigid protocol that remains unchanged throughout the research. Adaptive, iterative design (e.g. Plan-Do-Study-Act PDSA cycle).
Endpoint Answer a research question. Improve a program, process or system.
Sharing Results Part of generating new knowledge that engages critical appraisal through presentation and/or publication. Primary goal is to improve local healthcare delivery and secondary goal is to share learnings externally regarding QI results.
Accountability Local Principal Investigator (LPI) with sign off from the appropriate manager, program director and department chief(s)/division head(s). Project lead with sign off from the sponsoring manager, program director and department chief(s)/division head(s).
Ethics Approval Research Ethics Board (REB). Manager and program director. If accessing/looking at individual patient charts, then REB approval is required. See Frequently Asked Questions below.
Publishing Approval for Posters or Articles Manager, program director and department chief(s)/division head(s) approval with data reviewed by Decision Support Team (DST). Manager and program director with data reviewed by Decision Support Team (DST).

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