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Breakthrough Series College

Breakthrough Series College​ (BTS College) is a three-day professional development program that puts you on the path to Collaborative​ health care model.
“Really knowledgeable and insightful.”
“Exhausting but stimulating and thought-provoking.”
“The networking was fantastic.”
This is a small of sampling of what Directors, Quality Leaders, Researchers, and other attendees had to say about the BTS College, created by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI). This intensive and powerful three-day program is designed to help you adapt proven methods to spread outstanding improvements across your organization in a Collaborative format. In fact, you could gain the insights and strategies you need to prepare for Collaborative start-up — within four months. 
Of note, participants in past BTS College programs have stressed the need for organizations to send two or more people to the College, to optimize learning about the Collaborative structure and roles. Participants will select either a Director or Improvement Advisor track when not attending general plenary sessions.
Over the 15 years that this program has been offered, it has helped health care, social services, education, public health, and other types of organizations make profound and lasting changes that have been spread throughout organizations, across systems, through cities and towns, and even among countries.​
This program has helped organizations run collaboratives on topics including (but not limited to):
  • Improving organ donation consent rates
  • Reducing complications from ventilators and central lines
  • Improving the patient experience
  • Improving access in primary care
  • Reducing unplanned readmissions
  • Improving childhood literacy
  • Improving chronic care (asthma, congestive heart failure, diabetes, hypertension)
  • Improving care for children in foster care
Read a blog post​ from past BTS College faculty member, Maire Schall, about the BTS methodology and applications outside of health care.

Topics of Focus

This three-day program includes one- to four-hour workshops on a wide breadth of topics, including:
  • ​Collaboratives: How and why they work
  • Developing key technical content
  • Teaching the Model for Improvement
  • Developing and running improvement projects
  • Supporting teams during Action Periods

Attendee Take-Aways

Over the course of the Breakthrough Series College, you will:
  • ​Become prepared for either a Director or Improvement Advisor role at your organization
  • Gain at least five ideas to bring back to your organization and test
  • Learn how to become a change leader within your organization

What Is a Collaborative?

A Breakthrough Series Collaborative is a short-term (6- to 18-month) learning system that brings together a large number of teams from hospitals or clinics seeking improvement in a focused topic area. Since 1995, IHI has sponsored over 50 such Collaborative projects on several dozen topics involving over 2,000 teams from 1,000 health care organizations. Collaboratives range in size from 12 to 160 organizational teams. 
Teams in such Collaboratives have achieved dramatic results, including reducing waiting times by 50 percent, reducing worker absenteeism by 25 percent, reducing ICU costs by 25 percent, and reducing hospitalizations for patients with congestive heart failure by 50 percent. In addition, IHI has trained over 650 people in the Breakthrough Series methodology, thus spawning hundreds of Collaborative initiatives throughout the health care world, sponsored by organizations other than IHI.​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​