With research and innovation playing a major role in driving new improvements in patient safety and clinician wellbeing, MPS is proud to launch an exciting new project – The MPS Foundation. Adrian Jackson, Head of The MPS Foundation, looks at why this has been launched and what we hope it will achieve.
In February this year, MPS was very proud to announce the launch of The MPS Foundation – a new, global, not-for-profit research initiative that aims to help shape the future of patient safety clinician wellbeing through the funding of ambitious research. This will have a particular emphasis on applied research and a focus on alternative state health models, private hospital and outpatient environments and the dental sector.
Using this research to develop an international knowledge base that can be applied locally, The MPS Foundation seeks to help members and other healthcare professionals navigate the challenges of modern practice and find research solutions that enhance patient care, patient safety, patient outcomes and clinician wellbeing, and help to develop expertise in risk reduction and management.
The Foundation will support research in those countries and regions where we have a member base, including the UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and the Caribbean.
At Dental Protection, we recognise how important patient care and safety, and clinician wellbeing, are to members and the healthcare profession.
The World Health Organisation has announced that the decade 2021 to 2030 is the “patient safety decade”, stating that “improving and ensuring patient safety is a growing challenge to health service delivery globally” and that “unsafe health care causes a significant level of avoidable patient harm and human suffering, places a considerable strain on health system finances and leads to a loss of trust in health systems”.1
We agree with this statement and want to contribute to improving patient safety globally by funding research that can be used by members and healthcare professionals to improve patient safety locally, in their own work environments.
Dental Protection and The MPS Foundation also recognise that the impact of the changes that are occurring within healthcare systems globally are impacting members’ wellbeing, contributing to burnout and loss of resilience. Clinician wellbeing is a growing area of research but one that needs more focus, particularly following the COVID-19 pandemic. Studies in the USA, prior to the pandemic, indicated that “more than half of US physicians are experiencing substantial symptoms of burnout”.2 This is considerably higher than that in the wider workforce. The same study found that there were a large number of factors that contributed to burnout, including work process inefficiencies, excessive workloads and organisation climate factors. Several studies in the USA have also identified that those working in private practice were approximately 20% more likely to suffer burnout.
The strategic goals of the MPS Foundation
The MPS Foundation has five strategic goals:
• To support research that makes a meaningful contribution to reducing risk for patients, Dental Protection members and medical and dental professionals
• To support research that makes a meaningful contribution to improving wellbeing for Dental Protection members and the wider body of medical and dental professionals
• To support research that creates and contributes to the body of knowledge that supports the improvement of patient care, safety and outcomes and clinician wellbeing
• To support the generation of knowledge and understanding that informs and further develops expertise in risk reduction and management to support Dental Protection members
• To support applied research that establishes ‘what works’ and can be translated into workplaces globally.
Studies have recognised that there are many factors that have a positive and adverse effect upon clinician wellbeing and patient safety, at both an individual and organisational level. The WHO states that “most adverse events can potentially be avoided with effective prevention and mitigation strategies, including, as appropriate, improved policies, data systems, redesigned processes of care (including addressing human factors, including training), environmental hygiene and infrastructure, better organizational culture to improve practices, supportive and effective regulatory systems and improved communication strategies”.3 The MPS Foundation is very keen to explore these areas further with the view to supporting members and will focus its research, in line with its strategic goals, on:
• The impact of human factors on patient care, safety and outcomes
• The impact of processes and delivery models on delivering safe care and better outcomes
• Clinician wellbeing, including the personal and professional wellbeing of clinicians
• Digital integration and technology from the perspective of both the opportunities and risks provided by technology.
Activities of the MPS Foundation
Providing research grants
We will fund an annual research grant programme. Researchers across all MPS countries will be able to submit proposals to receive funding for their research projects. This process will be managed by our online portal.
Funding is restricted both in terms of what we will fund and how much we will fund. We will only fund research proposals that meet our priorities in terms of our scope, focus and geographical interests. We will provide funding through two schemes:
• Small projects – up to a total of £60,000 (or equivalent local currency) and between 3 and 24 months
• Large projects – up to a total of £200,000 (or equivalent local currency) and between 12 and 36 months
Calls for proposals will be undertaken annually and there will be a two-stage process:
• Initial Expression of Interest
• Full application for those shortlisted following the expression of interest
We anticipate the next call for proposals will be open at the beginning of 2023.
The MPS Foundation will also commission research from research organisations and higher education. Commissioned research will be research that has been identified specifically by Dental Protection colleagues and members. The research proposal, scope and focus will be tightly defined, and it will address a specific strategic need, aligned with the Foundation’s priorities.
The MPS Foundation proposes to run annual national and international competitions.
In each MPS country a specific patient safety or patient care challenge will be identified and teams will be invited to submit their potential solutions to the challenge, demonstrating how they’ve researched the issue, identified a solution and how that solution addresses the challenge.
Teams will be judged nationally against their country’s challenge and national winners will then be judged against other national winners to determine an international winner.
Teams must consist of three people and be made up of undergraduates and postgraduates. There will be no limitation to the number of teams from any single institution.
Contacting the MPS Foundation
The MPS Foundation Board is chaired by Graham Stokes, a member of MPS Council and the Dental Protection Board. Adrian Jackson is Head of The MPS Foundation and is responsible for the day to day running of The MPS Foundation. The MPS Foundation can be contacted on [email protected] and more details about our programmes can be found at www.thempsfoundation.org.
1World Health Assembly, 72. (2019). Global action on patient safety. World Health Organization. https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/329284
2Dyrbye LN, Shanafelt TD, Sinsky CA, Cipriano PF, Bhatt J, Ommaya A, West CP, Meyers D, Burnout among health care professionals: A call to explore and address this underrecognized threat to safe, high-quality care. NAM Perspectives. Discussion Paper, National Academy of Medicine, Washington, DC (2017) https://doi.org/10.31478/201707b
3World Health Assembly, 72. (2019). Global action on patient safety. World Health Organization. https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/329284