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Empowering Health Care Quality Improvement in the Middle East

By Maureen Bisognano | Monday, March 24, 2014

I’m excited to be returning to Doha next month for the 2014 Middle East Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare (April 25-27). I was in Qatar several months ago to speak at the country’s first National Patient Safety Awareness Week, and what I observed during my trip was much more than just a growing awareness about quality and safety. In clinician after clinician, I saw a genuine, demonstrated passion for improving care. In leaders, I saw that same passion and also an understanding of their crucial role in creating both the infrastructure, and the will, to support and drive meaningful change. The importance of this leadership duty is reflected in the theme of this year’s Middle East Forum: “Empowering Patient Care Improvement.” 

Maureen Bisognano

There is such great progress being made in the region. Our faculty recently visited a geriatric unit that had gone 180 days without a single pressure ulcer. They also visited a hospital that had gone 400 days since the last ventilator-associated pneumonia, and 300 days since the last central-line-associated bloodstream infection. Even more impressive is the unprecedented level of engagement our faculty is seeing, from leadership to the front line, in the work of improving care. 

At IHI’s offices, we have a quote on the wall from one of the founding fathers of quality improvement, W. Edwards Deming – it says, “Quality is everyone’s responsibility.” One of IHI’s most important successes in the last 25 years is helping health care organizations all over the world understand that quality is not something that’s the responsibility of one person or one department. Achieving meaningful and lasting change requires contributions from everyone, regardless of title and regardless of role. That’s why gatherings like the Middle Eastern Forum are so important and so effective – there’s something for everyone. A quick look at this year’s program reveals the full range of knowledge and expertise about improving quality and safety. As we say at IHI: “all teach, all learn.” 

The importance of this comprehensive approach to improvement is why the theme of the Middle Eastern Forum resonates with me so much. Empowering improvement is about empowering people. And not just by providing the latest, most innovative, and most successful approaches, but also through creating structures and processes through which everyone with a passion for improvement can become a forceful agent of change. 

This past December, IHI hosted its 25th annual National Forum on Quality Improvement in Health Care. The last 25 years have been an extraordinary journey, and I’m excited to be part of a new journey in the Middle East. I look forward to seeing everyone at the Middle East Forum. 

-Maureen Bisognano 

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