‘But why is that better?’ An investigation of what applied philosophy and ethics can bring to quality improvement work in healthcare is a research project funded by a Wellcome Trust Collaborative Award in Humanities and Social Science. The project runs for five years, from 2018–2023.
Quality improvement (QI) aims to tackle the shortcomings of health services, but QI initiatives do not always work and sometimes create new problems. One of the reasons for these failures is that people do not agree about what counts as good quality, and quality is often interpreted in ways that fail to capture the aspects of healthcare that matter to people.
This project uses the tools of applied philosophy to help deliver on the promise, and avoid the pitfalls, of healthcare QI. We think that applied philosophy can help elucidate and address the conceptual, ethical and practical challenges faced by researchers and quality improvement practitioners, with potentially transformative implications.