Skip to content

Return on Investment (ROI)


You can calculate the ‘Return on Investment’ (ROI) of a quality improvement initiative using the financial benefits and costs data from the project.

A tool developed by the NHS Institute (no longer in existence) calculates the return on investment (ROI) of a quality improvement initiative using the financial benefits and costs data you insert from your project

It can be used at the start of a project to provide an estimate of the costs, for instance so the sponsor can assess what the ROI before investing and again towards the end of a project, as a measure for the success of the improvement project.

ROI can be used throughout the life of a project to continually see if benefits are being realised.

How to use it

The formula for calculating ROI is:
Benefits – costs = dividends
Return on investment can also be provided as a % figure, showing the savings as a percentage of the total costs:
Benefits – costs x 100


While ROI is usually thought of as being purely about ‘financial’ benefits, it is helpful to start by thinking about the quality benefits of investments. What initially may seem like a non-financial benefit, ie improved patient safety may be able to be translated into financial terms (for example improving patient safety results in shorter lengths of stay meaning reduced number of bed days).

Collecting this information will help you to develop a clear evidence base on which to build your business case for change.

Estimating what an improvement initiative will cost to implement and sustain provides data for the costs element of the calculation. Calculating the benefits throughout the life of a project is often required as part of the continuous review of the project status and to inform the decision is the project continues, refined or closed.


Further information

Learning modules

< Step 4: Test and measure improvement

< The Improvement Journey