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Improvement Science

Improvement Science

The translation of research into routine clinical and public health practice is a complex process that does not follow a coherent linear pathway. However, it is often reduced to two keys challenges the first being the conversion of fundamental scientific  evidence into interventions of proven value and the second being to increase the likelihood that evidence-based interventions become part of routine practice.

The Division is undertaking a range of research programmes and projects to address this latter challenge.

Current Research Projects

Social Values and Prioritisation Research Programme

Across the world policy makers face the challenge of setting health care priorities, balancing the objectives of securing high quality, comprehensive health care without creating financial barriers to access. People are living longer, have increasing expectations of what care should be provided, and health care innovation continues to offer ever greater options for intervention. One way of dealing with these challenges is to search for great 'value for money' in health care through evidence-based assessment of interventions that work and are cost-effective.

Yet, although priority setting involves technical analyses of clinical and cost effectiveness, it also requires judgements of social value. Such values include justice, solidarity, respect for persons and dignity. Indeed, even scientific criteria such as clinical and cost-effectiveness presuppose social values in the assessment of the quality of life that an intervention will deliver.

Our proposed research aims to consider the role that social values play in the setting of health care priorities and the implementation of evidence based cost effective care

Specifically the programme aims are:

  1. To map the institutionalisation of social values in priority-setting decisions in health care, looking at decisions that lead to a 'value' being placed on certain interventions. Such interventions include health technology assessment but also cover major issues like the priority to be given to preventive measures. The mapping will cover a number of countries but particular attention will be given to South Korea, Thailand, the UK and the USA.
  2. To assess the role that social value considerations play in the policy paradigms of those countries both in terms of process and substance.
  3. To evaluate decision making protocols and processes by reference to an explicit normative theory based on the idea of social contract.
  4. To contribute to the production of a decision tool intended to aid decision makers in identifying the role that social values should have in priority setting.

Lead PI: Professor Peter Littlejohns
Funder: Guy's and St Thomas' Charity

Increasing the Uptake of Evidence-based Cost-effective Care (NICE Guidance)

Following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between King’s College London and the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), a portfolio of research projects has been initiated with national and international partners. The programme will use a range of quantitative and qualitative methods to support clinicians and policy makers make decisions and implement interventions that improve the health of patients and the public.

Lead PI: Professor Peter Littlejohns


Professor Peter Littlejohns, Professor (Honorary Consultant) of Public Health

King's College London
Division of Health and Social Care Research
Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine
Level 5, Addison House
Guy's Campus

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