Nov 28, 2011

Tackling Quality Improvement Projects At Georgetown University

As the Community Manager of the IHI Open School, I have the joy of periodically visiting our Chapters to get to know them, hear about the exciting work they’re doing and, help with the challenges they face. This November, it was a pleasure to travel to Georgetown University for my first site visit.

What stood out most about the visit was the passion and energy this Chapter is putting toward its quality improvement projects.

Chapter founder, Dr. Daniel Alyeshmerni, a hospital resident, and Chapter leaders, James Cervantes and Mark Fischer, (both health systems administration students) are guiding many of the Chapter’s 70 students on eight different interprofessional projects at Georgetown University Hospital (GUH).
IHI Open School Chapter at GU working group members: Cervantes, Horak, Alyeshmerni, Fisher and O’Mally

The group, which comprises students from medicine, nursing, health administration, and pharmacy, is working on these projects that began approximately 8 months ago:

- Central Line Associated Blood Stream Infections (CLABSI)
- Inpatient Handoff Communication
- Venous Thromboembolism (VTE) Prophylaxis
- Discharge
- Inpatient-Outpatient Handoffs
- Interdisciplinary Rounds
- End-of-residency Handoff Communication
- Hand washing

Just getting started can be a challenge, but the students at Georgetown have been both resourceful and creative. One of the project teams utilized the IHI Open School’s
Mentor Matching Tool to identify mentor hospitals with similar demographics and low rates of CLABSI. After identifying New York Beth Israel and Swedish Medical Center as mentor institutions, the Georgetown team hosted regular conference calls with them to learn from what they were doing. From there, the CLABSI team went to hospital leadership, who recommended ideal units to pilot the project. And after initial success, they are now rolling these out to other units at GUH.

The eight projects are in various stages – some are just getting off the ground, others are already collecting data – but each one has the same goal: to improve care for patients in the hospital. (Note: Georgetown is serving as one of 20 test sites in the IHI Open School Quality Improvement Practicum.
Click here to learn more.)

And, I was delighted to learn, the QI projects are only one initiative within this vibrant Chapter. Faculty advisors Bernard Horak, Professor of Health Systems Administration, and Dr. Eileen Moore, Assistant Dean for Community Education and Advocacy, along with other faculty members are committed to making this improvement work real and permanent. The group is also striving to:

- Engage more students in their Chapter
- Secure funding for Chapter events and activities
- Integrate QI in curriculum

Georgetown University recognized IHI with a certificate of appreciation for their educational contributions! (From left to right: Fischer, Horak, Cervantes, Perlo, Alyeshmerni and Moore).

Thank you, IHI Open School Chapter at Georgetown, for an excellent first site visit. After a day with your group, I am absolutely inspired by our community of healthcare professionals and can’t wait for the next site visit!

- Jessica Perlo, IHI Open School Community Manager