Apr 23, 2011

Hot Spot for Healthcare Improvement: Chicago

On March 29, twenty-six enthusiastic students, faculty, and health care leaders from the Institute of Healthcare Improvement met at the Sofitel Chicago Water Tower to network and learn more about quality improvement. The event was sponsored by the IHI Open School and Aleta Belletete, a retired board member of the Institute of Healthcare Improvement who has thought about quality in another industry that gets a lot of attention, banking, serving as the Chief Quality Officer for Bank One.

During the Institute of Healthcare Improvement Annual Forum in Orlando, Aleta was perusing the IHI Open School posters and stumbled upon our Chapter poster sandwiched in between several other Chicago-based chapters. She knew that one of the most valuable things to create change is to get them all in a room together and that is exactly what she did.

Multiple institutions were represented and it was a lot of fun meeting other professionals excited about making health care safer, better, and more efficient. We were lucky enough to get some hands on instruction from quality improvement guru Bob Lloyd, Institute for Health Care Improvement Faculty and Executive Director of Performance Improvement, as well as Richard Scoville, who is also IHI Faculty. We learned about the IHI’s Model for Improvement and how to implement a Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA) cycle to achieve meaningful and lasting change. Attendees had the chance to interact with health professionals across the spectrum including: medical students, physicians, paramedics, administrators, pharmacy students, and residency program directors. This was really just a launching point to get the Chicago QI community connected and learning from one another.

Much of the discussion focused on how to get Chapters started or sustain activity. Interestingly, our own Chapter, which is still very young, seemed to be in an advisory role, assisting other student leaders in finding mentors or thinking about activities. They key ingredients to a successful Chapter seemed to be the same: (1) committed students; (2) committed and capable faculty advisors; and (3) a shared vision around a specific activity the Chapter would sponsor. We are fortunate to have quality and safety as a major thread in our curriculum. Sustainability is also an issue with turnover of student leaders - one thing our Chapter is doing this year, is creating a "senior advisor" role for 4th year medical students who are coming out of their clinical clerkships to guide the preclinical students on the highest yield activities. Our own Chapter has been focusing on interprofessional collaboration with our health administration students and has started outreaching to pharmacy students as well. There was a lot of talent in the room and we look forward to future events!

- Anthony Aspesi, MS1 and Vineet Arora, MD MAPP