What is a Clinical Community

Clinical Communities


The ‘Clinical Communities’ model was developed by John Hopkins Medicine, and is based on a “Community of Practice” structure, tailored specifically for use in a healthcare improvement context.

They run for a set period of time (usually 1 year), and work as a community of practitioners sharing their improvement journeys around a common aim.  This gives a “bottom up” approach to improvement, driven directly by the clinical practitioners involved.

The model is a social learning community first and foremost, with organisational structures in place to formalise the working relationships between participants; these links can be seen in the diagram (left/right) – “vertical links” are used to share goals, and “horizontal links” to share knowledge. A “Core Team” provides group direction and structure to the programme, whilst “Site teams” direct their local improvement work. NHS Quest provide facilitation, events and infrastructure to support Clinical Communities, and ensure that they are supplemented with additional subject expertise (on Improvement Science and Measurement for example) when required.

Case Studies


Reducing Falls

Falls accounted for 324,000 (26%) of all patient safety incidents in 2011. It was the belief of the board that they would be more successful if they worked to tackle this challenge together. The following example of the Reducing Falls Clinical Community shows the breadth of achievement. Find out more