This Week at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement
December 15, 2014
Valued Employees as Key Assets for Improving Health

The pressure to reduce costs in health care today is intense. Outsourcing staff such as housekeeping might seem like a sensible cost-saving measure in the short term, but taking the longer, and larger, view of reducing costs by improving health and quality is surely the better path. In a new blog post, IHI Vice President Kathy Luther tells the story of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, NC, whose leaders were reviewing their own housekeeping operations with an eye to reducing costs. The leaders realized that several of their housekeeping staff came from the same communities as many of the medical center’s most complex patients. So they decided to convert four of the housekeeping positions into new “Supporters of Health.” These Supporters of Health are now checking in on the most vulnerable patients and “having frank conversations with patients about their living situation and specific post-discharge and health care needs.” By doing so, they are helping to keep routine health care needs from becoming acute (and vastly more expensive) health care crises.

Profile in Improvement: Len Berry

Len Berry, PhD, MBA, has spent his career researching how to market a service. This has kept him focused on quality because, as he explains in a new Profile in Improvement posted to, “you can’t market a poor-quality service… who wants to buy a poor-quality service?” Len is University Distinguished Professor of Marketing, Regents Professor, and M.B. Zale Chair in Retailing and Marketing Leadership at the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University; this year he is also Senior Fellow-in-Residence at IHI. Fourteen years ago, he traveled to Minnesota to study service improvement in health care broadly, and how Mayo Clinic delivers care specifically. This had two results: a book, Management Lessons from Mayo Clinic; and an enduring fascination with health care. At IHI, we’re grateful for both, especially since they’ve helped connect Len to our work on improving care and health. In the profile, Len also discusses his current project on improving the service experience for cancer patients and their families, and what he sees as the challenges ahead for health care and for IHI.

Catch Up on WIHI: New Podcast from Bob Wachter

It’s been an incredible year of WIHI broadcasts. And just because the studio is on hiatus for the rest of 2014 doesn’t mean you have to miss out on your bi-weekly dose of the latest and greatest thinking on health, health care, and improvement. All of the more than 120 WIHI broadcast recordings (since 2009) are archived and available for free on and via iTunes. Recent programs include The Road to Team-Based Primary Care and Behavioral Health; 100 Million Healthier Lives by 2020; and Better Care and Better Value for Hip and Knee Replacement. In addition, on December 16 we will post a special WIHI podcast recorded live last week at IHI’s National Forum, called 10 Things Every Hospital Needs to Know to Be Safe, featuring Dr. Robert Wachter, author of the hospitalist blog, Wachter’s World. WIHI resumes its regular schedule on Thursday, January 15, with an important broadcast about end-of-life care and how communities can become “Conversation Ready.”

IHI Focus Area Spotlight

Improvement Capability: Reimagining Quality Measurement in Health Care

Person- and Family-Centered Care: Patient Experience: Transformation First

Patient Safety: Tips to Make Health Technology Safer

Quality, Cost, and Value: Health Care, the Whole Person, and Community Engagement

Triple Aim for Populations: The Effect of Medicaid Coverage on Access to Care and Health: One State’s Story

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This Week at IHI will be taking a brief winter hiatus, returning on Monday, January 5. Happy holidays to all!

Also, please note that IHI's office will be closed from Thursday, December 25 through Friday, January 2.



A new article – "The Antidote to Fragmented Health Care– by IHI's Kedar Mate and the Permanente Federation's Amy Compton-Phillips, posted to Innovating for Value in Health Care, a collaboration of the editors of Harvard Business Review and the New England Journal of Medicine



A recent article co-authored by IHI Fellow Alumnus, Kevin Stewart (above) – "Doctors’ experiences of adverse events in secondary care: the professional and personal impact" – published in Clinical Medicine

Where's IHI?
IHI Chief Medical and Scientific Officer, Don Goldmann, is in Washington, DC, this week for the National Quality Forum's (NQF) and AHRQ's "Healthcare Quality 2.0" meeting.
Who's at IHI?

Two representatives from Ethiopia's Ministry of Health – Dr. Abraham Endeshaw Mengistu, Director of Medical Services, and Yakob Seman Ahmed, leader of the national quality advisor team  are visiting IHI this week.

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Web&ACTION: Improving Prehospital Emergency Care
Begins March 5, 2015

The International Leadership Development Program for Physicians
(This program is presented by The Harvard School of Public Health and IHI)
June 15-26, 2015 in Boston, MA

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