Leveraging the Open School at Lehigh Valley

October 2013
​The Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN), which includes three hospitals, community health centers, and more than 1,100 physicians in Pennsylvania, started on its journey with the IHI Open School courses in May of 2012.
“We needed some additional education in quality improvement and patient safety,” says Jennifer Stephens, DO, Vice Chair of Quality, Department of Medicine at LVHN. “We started to look at the modules and they were exactly the level of education we needed.”
Stephens helped set a goal to have at least 250 health care professionals complete at least one online course in one year. As it turns out, they didn’t need the full year.
In March, the number hit 252 and then continued to rise all summer long. 
“[The education] has been incredibly well-received,” Stephens says. “We’ve seen lots of people who have taken a laundry list of the different courses.”
QI 101: Fundamentals of Improvement is the most popular course. More than 170 professionals have completed it. The rest of the Improvement Capability catalog – QI 102 – QI 106 – isn’t far behind. But it’s the patient safety courses that really stand out to Stephens.
“They are some of the best modules,” she says. “After you’ve gone through them, you can go back and use the tools as you facilitate a project. It gets everyone on the same page and standardizes everyone’s approach.”
Administrators have charted the staff progress through the courses, as you might guess, with a run chart. Here’s the one from July:
 click to enlarge
The courses are open to all clinicians, and Stephens says it’s been interesting to see the spectrum of staff that has completed the online modules. The outreach plan, particularly for physicians, was simple: “Communicate it everywhere, all the time,” says Stephens.
LVHN is also using the courses with residents and in a unique partnership with University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine.
Are you using the Open School courses in your organization? Tell us how it’s going – and how you’re building excitement around quality improvement and patient safety among your staff!
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