Monday 22nd September 2014
Mac Voice, the magazine for Macmillan professionals: Autumn 2014
The Improvement Team explain how they are helping Macmillan’s information and support services to achieve the highest standards
Macmillan information and support services vary in size and location and also in the type of service delivered. The smallest services can be run in community locations, such as libraries. The largest support services may be located in hospital settings and include facilities for benefits advisers, complementary therapists, and meeting rooms for self help and support groups. There are also many other different service models in between these two extremes.
Whatever their size or setting, a Macmillan information and support service needs to be able to deal with all levels and types of enquiry and offer a high quality service for people affected by cancer.
Research by the Patient Information Forum has confirmed the value of high-quality, personalised health information, and the positive impact it has on people’s experiences of healthcare, health behaviour and status, as well as service use and health costs.
The MQuISS™ standards
In 2012 Macmillan launched a quality framework called MQuISS™ (Macmillan Quality in Information and Support Services). The standards are a practical tool for Macmillan information support service managers to maintain high quality and improve the sustainability of their services.
The standards are divided into 12 separate quality areas, which link together, creating a practical guide to delivering high quality in specific areas such as planning, managing people and user-centred services.
Feedback from service managers identified that information and support services really needed practical help to get started with MQuISS™. Macmillan’s solution was to recruit a small team of information specialists to support the ongoing improvement of our information services.
Introducing the Improvement Team
There are six of us in the team: a team leader and five improvement advisers. We are home based, working across the UK.
Our approach is to provide tailored advice and support focusing on particular aspects of the standards that the individual service may find more challenging. We design and develop tools and resources, and help services to network with their peer group and share their experiences. We work closely with Macmillan Development Managers and regional teams to ensure we deliver the best possible support, at the right time, for the service.
Along with Mig Muller, the Quality Standards Development Manager, the team have designed and delivered online seminar (webinar) sessions focusing on the various quality areas within the MQuISS™ standards as a way of engaging and supporting information professionals.
The team has also worked on updating the MQuISS™ Learn Zone page, providing links to documents and templates to support services with implementation.
Below are some examples of feedback the team has received from Macmillan Information and Support Services.
‘A simple thank you for helping to push us onto the right path. Hopefully, with continued assistance, we can look forward to eventually achieving MQuISS™’
‘The team have been of enormous assistance in helping to get MQuISS™ up and running’
‘I think the biggest thing for me is the way the team has showcased MQuISS™ in a very practical and applied way so that, when the improvement adviser leaves, I look at the indicators and know where I am heading.’
By the end of 2014, we aim for all of the regional service development teams to be aware of the MQuISS™ standards and to be tracking the increasing number of services implementing them.
We also aim to provide support to any services requesting our help to implement the MQuISS™ standards and, if required, in achieving level 4 of the quality standards.
By the beginning of 2016, the aim is that all the 180 services will have achieved this level.
There are a variety of reasons why an information professional may want to contact the Improvement Team. They may be new in post and want more information about MQuISS™, or an existing manager of an information and support service may need specific advice about the standards, or support to move forwards with their action plan.
If you want to hear more about MQuISS™ or to speak to one of the team, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Improvement Team Lead
1 Patient Information Forum. Making the case for information: the evidence for investing in high quality health information for patients and the public. 2013.