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Timothy Wilson

2000-01 Harkness Fellow General practitioner Director Quality Unit St. Paul Royal College of General Practitioners

Harkness Project Title: Analytical Study of Collaborative Improvement: Experience and Thoughts from Seven Countries

Mentors: Donald Berwick, M.D., and Paul Cleary, Ph.D.

Placement: Harvard Medical School and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement

Biography at time of Harkness Fellowship: D. Timothy Wilson, B.M., B.S., a 2000–01 Commonwealth Fund Harkness Fellow in Health Care Policy, is a practicing general practitioner and director of the newly formed St. Paul Royal College of General Practitioners Quality Unit, which supports the U.K.’s Clinical Governance effort in primary care.  He is also director of the Primary Care Group Resource Unit based in the Public Health Resource Unit at Oxford University’s Institute of Health Sciences. Wilson’s unit conducts research that examines the development of primary care groups in the NHS, identifies the level of involvement of health professionals in working with these groups, assesses the learning needs of members of the boards of primary care groups, and determines how clinical governance can best be supported in primary care settings in the United Kingdom.  Based at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and Harvard Medical School, his Harkness Fellowship project examines the diffusion and sustainability of quality improvement following the implementation of a Collaborative Breakthrough Series project.


Project: Wilson’s project investigated the underlying principles in collaborative improvement in health care – pioneered by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement – and other quality improvement and patient safety techniques.  He conducted interviews with fifteen world experts in collaborative improvement, and used these to develop a conceptual framework and spell out collaborative improvement’s methods, assumptions, and theoretical models of spread and change.


Career Activity Since Fellowship


  • Health advisory partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, 2007
  • Director, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, 2005
  • Senior Policy Analyst, Strategy Unit, UK Department of Health, 2002 


Current Position: Health Advisory Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. (Updated 1/2014)

E-Mail: [email protected]

Selected Publications


Wilson T. Thirty good men and true. Health Serv J. 2012 Apr 12;122(6301):16-7.

Wilson T. Improving primary health care delivery: still waiting for the magic bullet. CMAJ. 2011 Dec 13;183(18):E1280-1.

Greenhalgh T, Plsek P, Wilson T, Fraser S, Holt T. Response to 'The appropriation of complexity theory in health care'. J Health Serv Res Policy. 2010 Apr;15(2):115-7.

Wilson T. Improving performance in the NHS. BMJ. 2009 Jul 16;339:b2773.


Marshall M, Wilson T. “Competition in General Practice,” British Medical Journal 2005; 331: 1196 – 1199.

Fraser S, Wilson T, Rubin I. Caring Matters; Everyday Tales of Healing Organisations. 2004 Kingsham Press, Chichester.

Wilson T. “Social Capital and Complexity.”  In: Complex Systems and Health Care Organisations; eds: Kernick D. Oxford: Radcliffe Press, 2004.

Wilson T. “Surviving in an Unpredictable World.” In: Agile Systems in Health Care; eds: Fraser, Connor, Yarrow. Sussex: Kingsham Press, 2003.

Wilson T, Berwick DM, Cleary PD. “What do Improvement Collaboratives Do? Experience from Seven Countries,” Joint Quality Commission Journal on Quality and Safety 2003; 29(2):85-93.

Pringle M, Wilson T, Grol R. Measuring "Goodness" in Individuals and Healthcare Systems. British Medical Journal 2002; 325:704 - 707.

Baker M, Wilson T, Marshall M. Using Quality Indicators in General Practice. 2002. RCGP, London.

Ovretveit J, Bate P, Cleary P, Cretin S, Gustafson D, McInnes K, McLeod H, Molfenter T, Plsek P, Robert G, Shortell S, Wilson T. “Quality Collaboratives: Lessons from Research,” Qual Saf Health Care 2002; 11(4):345-51.

Wilson T, Sheikh A., “Enhancing Public Safety in Primary Care. British Medical Journal 2002; 324: 584-587.

Wilson T, Haslam D. Managing Alleged Performance Problems in Primary Care: Are We Ready?  Br J Gen Prac. 2002; 52:482; 724

Fraser S, Wilson T, Burch K, Osborne M, Knightley M. “Using Collaborative Improvement in a Single Organisation; Improving Anticoagulant Care” International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance 2002; 15 (4&5); 152-158.

Wilson T, Holt T, and Greenhalgh T. “Complexity Science: Complexity and Clinical Care” British Medical Journal 2001; 323: 685-688.

Plsek P and Wilson T. “Complexity Science: Complexity, Leadership, and Management in Healthcare Organisations” British Medical Journal 2001; 323: 746-749.

Wilson T, Pringle M and Sheikh A. Promoting Safety in Primary Care. British Medical Journal 2001; 323: 583-584

Wilson T. General Practice is Dead, Long Live Primary Care. Br J Gen Pract November 2000.