Aug 17, 2010

What's the University of Chicago

Last week, I visited the University of Chicago, one of the first IHI Open School Chapters. On Friday morning, I met with student and faculty representatives to learn about the medical school and prepare for the M1 class we’d attend later that morning. The University of Chicago opened its doors to medical students in 1927 and welcomes approximately 88 new students each year. The first year medical students (M1) have only been on campus for two weeks. The class we attended was an orientation to the quality and safety track for the entire class of first year medical students.

Medical School: Quality & Safety Scholarship and Discovery Track
The students are introduced to each of the
Scholarship & Discovery tracks so they can decide whether or not they’d like to delve into research, receive mentorship, and do a project in one of five areas - scientific discovery, medical education, quality and safety, community health, and global health - during their four years in medical school. The Chapter helped design the Quality & Safety track and incorporated the IHI Open School courses.

Medical School: Quality Improvement Elective
As part of the Scholarship & Discovery track, students can take a quality improvement elective during the spring quarter of their first year. It’s a 10 week elective during which the students learn quality improvement tools and setup an improvement project. A couple of students presented their projects including one working with general medicine to develop developing checklists to prevent the CMS no pay events (they increased adherence to the quality indicators by 20%) and a second project that studied the time to antibiotics for pneumonia patients in the ER.

The class also included an overview of the Institute of Medicine’s definition of the six dimensions of quality, process mapping, data describing patient satisfaction with quality of care they receive and provider satisfaction with their ability to provide high quality care, the World Health Organization’s ranking of healthcare systems, and challenged students to look how hospital’s in their hometown faired on the Department of Health And Human Service’s HospitalCompare and the Commonwealth Fund’s WhyNotTheBest websites…and that was just the introduction to quality!

Chapter Meeting
After the orientation course ended, we ventured to the biomedical building for a lunchtime Chapter meeting attended by medical students, health administration and policy students, residents, and faculty. Since the Chapter was founded, it’s been led and focused on medical students, but is now developing a partnership with students from the Graduate Program in Health Administration and Policy and is also planning to engage pharmacy residents. This year, the Chapter is planning to focus on building an interprofessional network, with quarterly socials events, and giving students the opportunity to participate in a hands-on project. After some brainstorming, the students decided to pursue an improvement project that will focus on the referral system at a local women’s shelter and health clinic.

School of Social Services Administration
In addition to the medical students' exposure to QI, the Graduate Program in Health Administration and Policy (GPHAP), which is housed within the School of Social Service Administration and draws students from the Booth School of Business, the Harris School of Public Policy, and the School of Social Service Administration, introduces students to quality improvement. Students are required to take two of the IHI Open School Quality Improvment courses in their Special Issues in Healthcare Management course. Students also have the opportunity to use the IHI Open School courses to fulfill their co-curricular requirements during one of their academic quarters.

The students' early exposure to quality improvement and the support from the faculty on their campus is encouraging and exciting! We expect to see great things from this Chapter over the next year. If you’re a student or faculty member at the University of Chicago, check out their IHI Open School Chapter Website on Chalk!

Thank you to Vinny Arora, Andrew Schram, Greg Kaufman, Laura Botwinick, Julie Oyler, Lisa Vinci, Marcus Dahlstrom, and
the University of Chicago School of Medicine and GPHAP students and faculty for inviting me to your campus and hosting a terrific site visit!