ISQua conference, Tokyo International Forum

ISQua conference, Tokyo International Forum, Japan (Laura Sheard)

In October 2016, I was fortunate enough to attend the ISQua (International Society for Quality in Healthcare) conference in Tokyo, Japan. The conference was at an amazing venue – the Tokyo International Forum – and I frequently marvelled at the outstanding architecture:


The conference was fast paced with many interesting parallel sessions. I found myself wanting to be in many places at the same time! In reality – not being a time traveller – I found myself mostly attending the Improvement Science sessions as these held most relevance for me given the current projects I am working on back home in Bradford, England.

Here are some of the highlights of the presentations which I found most intriguing. It was interesting to me that these were spread across the programme and related to 5 minutes presentations as equally as they did 15 minutes presentations or plenaries.

  • Anna Barker from Monash university in Melbourne, Australia described a trial involving over 30, 000 patients which sought to assess a falls reduction intervention. The trial showed no effect in falls or falls injuries although increased positive practice surrounding falls prevention was noticed. The full paper can be accessed here:
  • Al Ross from Kings College London, UK gave a short presentation about how success in healthcare is presumed to be the alignment between capacity and demand, but how this can sometimes be incorrect
  • Elzerie De Jager from James Cook University in Townsville, Australia gave a short and snappy but incredibly informative presentation about a systematic review she has conducted regarding surgical checklists. She found that surgical checklists appear to be more effective in developing then developed nations and gives reasons as being:


  • My colleague Ruth Baxter (Bradford Institute for Health Research and University of Leeds, UK) gave a thought provoking presentation on her doctoral research concerning positively deviant medical elderly wards in the North of England. She outlined what behaviour is exhibited on these wards in order to achieve excellence:


  • Wendy Levinson, Chair of Choose Wisely campaign Canada gave a fantastic plenary about the aims of the campaign and about how clinicians can talk to patients about how many tests, procedures and treatments are simply unnecessary . Here’s a link to a set of resources which CWC have developed:
  • And here’s a great, humorous video which gets the message across whilst parodying the Pharrell Williams song Happy


  • Related to the above theme, Mira Maram from Tel Aviv hospital in Israel gave a great presentation on the consequences of ‘excessive medicine’. She conducted an audit where outlying departments in the hospital were identified as those who ordered excessive unnecessary repeat blood testing. The aim was to bring the level of testing down to the hospital mean, which was achieved.


  • Ambreen Khan from Pakistan found that compliance with hand scrubbing for over two minutes reduces surgical site infection rates. Interestingly, the aim of this research study was merely to understand if compliance with hand scrubbing protocols could be achieved. The team found this was possible but they also noticed a marked reduction in surgical site infection.


  • Jeffrey Braithwaite from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia gave an animated and insightful presentation on the costs of gaining approvals for one pan Australian health services research study. He outlined the frustrations of his research team in the lengthy delays they experienced before they undertake the research. He estimated the cost of gained all the necessary approvals at $195k !!


  • Of course, I should also talk about my own presentation which was the main reason why I was at the conference. I gave a 30 minute talk on the PRASE (Patient Reporting and Action for a Safe Environment) intervention. The title of my presentation was – “Patient feedback about safety: can it improve safety and how do ward staff engage with this feedback?” PRASE is an intervention which was developed in our team at the Bradford Institute for Health Research, UK. It elicits patient feedback about safety on acute hospital wards and we tested the intervention in a 33 ward randomised controlled trial in the North of England. I presented the results of the trial and then the findings of the qualitative process evaluation which looked at how ward staff engaged with intervention. I received an interesting question in relation to what was it about certain wards that meant they engaged fully with the intervention whilst others did not. The context of the working environment for staff was also discussed and how they managed to fit the intervention into their busy working lives. Overall, I felt the presentation was well received by the audience and a number of interesting questions emerged.


  • I enjoyed the conference greatly and learnt a lot about improvement science work that is being conducted around the world. I was impressed by the range and extent of excellent work that is being undertaken. The conference was truly international with a great range of countries being represented and I valued the opportunity to meet people from across the globe. I’m really looking forward to London 2017 !