IHI was officially founded in 1991, but our work began in the late 1980s as part of the National Demonstration Project on Quality Improvement in Health Care, led by Dr. Don Berwick and a group of visionary individuals committed to redesigning health care into a system without errors, waste, delay, and unsustainable costs. Since then, we’ve grown from an initial collection of grant-supported programs to a self-sustaining organization with worldwide influence.
In our first decade, we focused on the identification and subsequent spread of best practices. This work reduced defects and errors in microsystems such as the emergency department or the intensive care unit.
In our second decade, we established a defining focus on innovation, R&D, and the bold creation of new solutions to old problems. We reinvented multidimensional systems of care and began transforming entire systems. This work manifested in the renowned 100,000 Lives Campaign and 5 Million Lives Campaign, spreading best practice changes to thousands of US hospitals and creating a vibrant worldwide improvement community.
As we entered our third decade, we recognized a new need for health care as a complete social, geopolitical enterprise. To accelerate the path to the health and care we need, IHI created the Triple Aim, a framework for optimizing health system performance by simultaneously focusing on the health of a population, the experience of care for individuals within that population, and the per capita cost of providing that care.
Today, IHI is an influential force in health and health care improvement in the US and has a rapidly growing footprint in dozens of other nations, including Canada, England, Scotland, Denmark, Sweden, Singapore, Latin America, New Zealand, Ghana, Malawi, South Africa, the Middle East, and elsewhere.
Download a Timeline of IHI’s phases and milestones: