Both Quality Improvement (QI) measures and Human Subjects Research (HSR) make significant contributions to the improvement of patient care and organizational health. As Safe Patient Handling (SPH) emerges as an evidenced-based science, SPH experts are asked to contribute to this body of evidence, which includes both patient and caregiver safety. Safe patient handling experts report that the distinctions between Quality Improvement (QI) measures and Human Subjects Research (HSR) are often difficult to discern. This introductory paper explores strategies to differentiate between the 2 categories of investigation. Specific examples of SPH QI opportunities, which employ an interdisciplinary approach, are included. Ethical and practical considerations are presented.
Keywords: quality improvement, human subjects research, safe patient handling