What’s the Difference Between Research and QI?

James Moses, MD, MPH; Medical Director of Quality Improvement, Boston Medical Center

Have trouble viewing this video? Read the transcript.

Learning Objectives: At the end of this activity, you will be able to:
  • Explain how measurement for improvement differs from measurement for research.
  • Describe how traditional research projects can help people undertaking quality improvement.
Description: Measurement is an essential part of quality improvement — and it’s an essential part of research. But the goals of measuring for research and measuring for improvement are different. In this IHI Open School short, IHI Open School Academic Advisor Dr. James Moses talks about how improvement and research methodology can contribute differently toward the same cause of creating better health care systems.
Discussion Questions:
  1. After watching the video, how would you describe the differences between research and quality improvement in your own words?
  2. When it comes to improving systems, what are the advantages of using quality improvement methodology as compared to traditional research methodology?
  3. What are some examples of projects that are more suited to using research methodology than improvement methodology? What are some examples of projects for which the reverse is true?
  4. Dr. Moses says, “People have a sense that it’s only through research that we can prove the effectiveness of an intervention.” Do you agree? Why might people feel this way?
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