RWJF Launches a Website to Advance the Science of QI Research and Evaluation

Mar 5, 2013, 9:00 AM

Lori Melichar, PhD, is a director at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).


On February 12, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation launched a new website that can serve as a long-awaited repository for work we have funded over the last 10 years that invests in advancing the science of quality improvement (QI) research and evaluation.  We hope the website also provides the opportunity for researchers and other health care professionals engaged in QI work to access resources and to connect with colleagues with mutual interests.

The launch coincided with a virtual meeting on Advancing the Science of QI Research and Evaluation (ASQUIRE).  The group convened to hear findings from grantees of the Foundation’s Evaluating QI Training Programs Initiative (PQI). 

Meeting participants were tasked with thinking about how the website can best disseminate their work as well as collect, house and spread tools, frameworks, methods and models to assist those doing QI and those evaluating QI efforts. Grantees were joined by experts in QI research, practice and evaluation and a lively discussion (sometimes a debate) ensued. 

I want to share some of the recommendations the group made to RWJF, and to other organizations to ensure that advancing the science of QI evaluation (e.g., sharing instruments and tools, improving measurement, developing shared frameworks and vocabulary) can be accomplished in an iterative and efficient manner:

  • Create a repository of QI research and evaluation measures, scales and surveys (similar to the measures registry of the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research that contains information about why and how the measure was created and how it has been used);
  • Create a way for tool creators to learn of use of their tool by other researchers and, more importantly, receive feedback about how well it worked from those who have used and perhaps customized their tools;
  • Provide an opportunity for researchers to collaborate in helping to validate a tool created by a different research team; 
  • Encourage reviewers and journal editors to reward researchers’ use of existing measures and scales;
  • Strengthen the ASQUIRE community of researchers (drawing in a broad range of people working in the QI space) so that measures, tools and frameworks can be shared organically;
  • Link the ASQUIRE community to other communities of practice that relate to QI implementation. Bridge researchers and practitioners and policy-level decision-makers, within and across disciplines—so that the research matters;..
  • Spread and support the message that QI can create value in the health care system and in public health entities; and
  • Create alignment among funders and other agencies that have a mandate to spread QI theory and methods and to facilitate health reform.

I am hoping that you will use the comment space to comment on these recommendations, make others, and/or indicate your interest in joining the ASQUIRE community.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.