Read HSJ’s guide to reducing unwarranted variation.

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7047 heartmonitor

Reducing variation in healthcare offers both financial savings and the opportunity to improve care – but there are challenges to overcome in getting staff on board.

An HSJ roundtable, in association with Syncera, looked at some of the opportunities around unwarranted variation and how to tackle the obstacles.

Now, to accompany the roundtable, we have produced a special online guide with a summary of the roundtable, video highlights from the contributors, and case studies from organisations which are making inroads into the problem of unwarranted variation.

Professor Tim Briggs, national director for clinical quality and efficiency, outlined the work he and his team had been doing around orthopaedics – and the plans for this approach to be extended into other areas. Some of the solutions offered significant savings: ‘If a trust does not provide orthopaedic surgeons with ring fenced beds their infections are higher,’ he said. £250m to £300m a year could be saved if all surgeons had infection rates comparable with the best at 0.2 per cent.

Good data can be a way to engage clinicians in discussions around this, the panel heard, and in the future technology may offer new ways of reducing variation.

The guide also features case studies from Medway Foundation Trust, which improved care for acute medical patients; and Derby Hospitals Foundation Trust, which made changes in a number of areas to reduce variation for elective patients.