In 2021, we partnered with patient organisation Versus Arthritis, patients, and rheumatologists to co-create a competitive quality improvement grant programme. The programme focused on enhancing patient care and outcomes in chronic inflammatory rheumatological conditions. Proposals were invited from organisations that could demonstrate measurable improvements in healthcare services and the health status of individuals within the rheumatology community, with the aim to fund four quality improvement projects.
Partnering with patients, carers and Versus Arthritis was vital to the success of the grant project. By combining skills, expertise, and learning from those who had lived experience of the conditions the grant was focused on, ultimately ensured that the grants awarded could be translatable into the NHS and have the highest chance of making a difference to the lives of rheumatology patients.
All stakeholders were involved with each aspect of the project including designing the request for proposal document and participating in the expert review panel meetings, which reviewed and scored all the submitted proposals, as well as being responsible for the grant decision making process. This was jointly chaired by a patient and a consultant rheumatologist.
"It was important to co-create the project from start to finish. This was to ensure that the research priorities, request for proposals and projects funded would be aligned with the needs of patients and the NHS. Our patient partners were involved from the start of the process in shaping the call and having a patient partner co-chair the review panel ensured that the patient voice was heard and taken in to account equally."
Versus Arthritis Team
Following the expert review panel evaluations, four institutions received the quality improvement grant, each of which aims to embed quality improvement outcomes into the NHS over the next few years:
King's College London
Opportunities from the COVID-19 pandemic: Using OpenSAFELY (an open-source software platform for analysis of electronic health records data) to improve the quality of care for people with rheumatoid arthritis.
The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Remote monitoring of Patient Recorded Outcome Measures to improve routine outpatient management in rheumatoid arthritis: a clinical service improvement project.
University of Birmingham
Development of an education programme relating to cardiovascular disease associated with rheumatoid arthritis for people of South Asian origin: improving the quality of care in annual review clinics.
University College London Hospitals
Shifting the mindset: Health Changing Conversation in adolescent and young adult rheumatology.
The collaborative efforts in organising, assessing and awarding the grants resulted in the project receiving a Silver Award at the Patient Partnership Index 2022 awards, demonstrating the value of patient involvement and cross-industry partnerships.
We hope to be able to partner with more patient organisations on similar projects across other therapy areas to help further improve healthcare services and the lives of patients.
Working together to raise awareness of sepsis through the campaign "Just ask - could it be Sepsis?"
Patients’ voices are integral to shaping clinical research and development.