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New study establishing a consensus around quality improvement terminology in veterinary care is published

5 January 2022

Finding a consensus around the definitions of key quality improvement (QI) terms used in veterinary care removes a prominent barrier for the application of QI methodology in veterinary practice and can help in improving patient outcomes, says a new study published in Vet Record.

The research, the first of its kind in veterinary medicine to draw up a comprehensive list of key quality improvement terms and definitions, provides a framework for quality improvement already tried and tested in the realm of human medicine. A standardisation of terminology will help quality improvement terms and principles take seed more profoundly in the veterinary professions and ultimately improve patient outcomes.

Chris Gush, Executive Director at RCVS Knowledge and one of the authors of the study, says:

“Establishing a consensus around the terms we use in relation to quality improvement principles is essential for them to be fully understood and absorbed by the veterinary professions. Using a common language will help us ensure we are aiming for a common purpose that is universally understood and shared. It will also help professionalise quality improvement principles and techniques, integrating them into everyday veterinary practice for the benefit of patients and the public in general.”

The study, led by the University of Nottingham and supported by RCVS Knowledge and CVS, suggests that introducing a consensus around QI terms will assist with clinical governance, through the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Practice Standards Scheme, and will also create a clear and relevant learning resource for use in educational settings, as well as in veterinary practices.

Quality improvement methods are a continuous process of iterative tests to improve the quality of a service or product. Using common language has already been linked to the successful implementation of quality improvement in human healthcare.

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