Article Types and Criteria

From January 2017, we are expanding the scope of the journal so that it now accepts a wider range of quality improvement articles such as quality improvement research and education reports. The full list of article types is listed below:

Article types and word counts

The word count excludes the title page, abstract, tables, acknowledgements and contributions and the references.

Quality Improvement Reports

Authors of improvement reports must use the downloadable SQUIRE template to submit their project. Submission criteria can be found here.

Value Based Healthcare Reports

Improvement projects which show evidence of technical, personal or allocative value. Authors of these reports must use the downloadable SQUIRE template to submit their project.

Original Articles

Original Articles report research and studies relevant to quality of health care. They may cover any aspect, from clinical or therapeutic intervention, to promotion, to prevention. They should usually present evidence indicating that problems of quality of practice may exist, or suggest indications for changes in practice, or contribute towards defining standards or developing measures of outcome. Alternatively, they should contribute to developing approaches to measuring quality of care in routine practice. The journal is interprofessional and welcomes articles from anyone whose work is relevant, including health professionals, managers, practitioners, researchers, policy makers, or information technologists.

Word count: 3000-4000 words

Structured abstract up to 275 words in length

Tables/Illustrations: up to 5 tables or illustrations; appendices that present additional methodological details or other relevant materials that may be of interest to readers can also be included with the intention of aiding peer reviewers or providing them as online material for interested readers.

Research checklists should be uploaded during the submission process. If these are not applicable to your research please state the reason in your cover letter.

Systematic Reviews

Systematic reviews, whether qualitative or quantitative (i.e., meta-analyses) should conform to the same guidelines outlined above for Original Research (Word count: 3000-4000 words or less, structured abstract of 275 words or less, and up to 5 Tables/Figs). Detailed search strategies and other supplementary materials will be considered for inclusion as online-only appendices.

Narrative Reviews

We will consider narrative reviews of general topic areas within patient safety , as opposed to structured, systematic reviews that address the effectiveness of specific interventions. E.g., an overview of the state of the science in teamwork training or assessments of patient safety culture. Narrative reviews can also address methodological topics, such as the use of ethnographic methods in patient safety research or a primer on run charts.

Word count: up to 3000 words

Research and Reporting Methodology

Articles that aim to advance research methodology or reporting standards related to patient safety and quality improvement. These articles are distinct from Primers or How to type articles on meant to provide a useful resource for general readers (such reviews fall under the Narrative Review category above)

Word count: 3000 words or less

Short Reports

Shorter reports of original research or implementation efforts , similar to Research Letters in major general medical journals.

Word count: 750 words or less with no more than 2 Tables or Figures - can be up to 1000 words if only 1 (or no) Table/Figure

Quality Education Reports

Articles that describe innovative approaches to imparting trainees or practitioners with concepts or tools related to quality improvement or patient safety. Articles that report a robust evaluation can have the same format as Original Research. Less ambitious reports should be less than 1500 words and have fewer than 20 references. For shorter reports, note that the literature already contains numerous descriptions of curricula for students and trainees. To be of interest, the curriculum and, or the evaluation should include some relatively novel element.

Quality Improvement Programme Reports

Articles which outline how quality improvement programmes are set up, their measurable benefits and lessons learnt.

Criteria for a Quality Improvement Report

  1. Describes and evaluates an intervention that aims to improve a process or system of healthcare. The project does not necessarily have to show improvement, but should demonstrate an attempt to improve a process or system.
  2. Is not an audit alone. Shows measurement, improvement, and then measurement repeatedly at least twice. BMJ Quality suggest using the PDSA model for improvement but authors may choose to use different tools. There should be three separate points where measurement has occurred and at least 2 improvement cycles. Authors describe and evaluate the variation in their data over time
  3. Ideally, the project outcomes should be sustainable
  4. Where the intervention is educational, the evaluation examines changes in learners' knowledge or behaviours and/or resultant organisational change/improvement. Simply reporting learner satisfaction with the intervention is not sufficient, and authors should consider submitting their work to an educational journal.
  5. Where it does not meet all criteria, the report attempts to address this in the limitations section. The report should consider the sustainability of the intervention within the limitations and detail to what extent sustainability has been assessed.

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