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Session Details

A Key Role
Effective and lasting improvement is usually brought about through a committed team effort. But guiding that effort should be the steady hand of someone whose expertise and experience with improvement work increases the potential for success.
Organizations that undergo multiple and sustained successful changes are fortunate to have a valuable leader, who we call an Improvement Advisor (IA). The Improvement Advisor is devoted to helping identify, plan, and execute improvement projects throughout the organization, deliver successful results, and spread changes throughout the entire system.
Where Do Improvement Advisors Come From?
Currently, individuals with the necessary skills to serve as Improvement Advisors are rare. Most health care organizations turn to internal or external resources for improvement leadership, but in many cases there is no one who has the required training, expertise, and support to fully succeed in the role. To effectively meet the demands of the job, Improvement Advisors need more than just experience and interest in improvement work. They need a solid foundation, advanced knowledge and skills in the art and science of improvement, and the ability to work with and coach front-line teams in achieving and maintaining successful changes.
The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), in conjunction with Associates in Process Improvement (API), has designed this richly packed professional development and support program to help health care Improvement Advisors to further develop and enhance their skills. The goal of this program is for participants to become highly effective leaders in helping their organizations accomplish strategic improvement plans.
Please listen to an informational call with faculty and past participants.

Who Should Attend

Health care professionals who are currently a source of improvement expertise for key improvement efforts in their organization and who want to deepen their knowledge and enhance their effectiveness. Often these individuals will hold titles such as:
  • Quality facilitator
  • Black Belt
  • Quality improvement specialist
  • Quality coach

Intense Progam​

This intense program is designed to allow participants to achieve maximum results by immediately applying the skills they learn. The curriculum is built around the theoretical framework provided by W.E. Deming’s Profound Knowledge, as well the Model for Improvement, which serves as a road map for accomplishing improvement initiatives.
Each Improvement Advisor accepted into the program will be required to be responsible during the workshop period for one or more improvement projects that are connected to his or her organization’s business plan. These projects, which provide a real-time application of content and an opportunity to cement the participant's learning, will be the focus of the workshops and support activities.

Improvement Projects

A core element of this program is the improvement project that each participant chooses to direct during the program. The project provides a double benefit for participants in that it provides both a chance to achieve results in an improvement project and a living laboratory to apply learning. It is important that the project is meaningful to the organization, and that results matter. The project may be in any one of three categories:
  • Improving quality of care;
  • Reducing costs while maintaining or improving quality; or
  • Expanding patient or customer satisfaction with the development of new services or innovative ways of providing existing services.
During the ten-month Improvement Advisor program, participants will meet for three four-day learning and working sessions. In between, during the Action Period assignments, participants engage in monthly webinars and benefit from individualized coaching, feedback, and support from expert faculty members.​

Participant Profiles

Profile: William A. Peters, MA, Senior Analyst and Improvement Advisor, Delnor-Community Hospital
Bill Peters came from a Midwestern hospital where concerns over how teams went about engaging in improvement led senior management to invest in the IHI Improvement Advisor (IA) Professional Development Program. Besides concerns on becoming better at improvement, the hospital’s board members were not satisfied with its performance on one of The Joint Commission and CMS publicly reported quality indicators.
Bill selected improving pneumonia care as the project he would work on through the IA Program. The indicator "Antibiotics within 4 hours of arrival for pneumonia patients" was selected as a key measure for his project. The current level of success in providing antibiotics within 4 hours was 77% and deemed unacceptable by his hospital. Over the course of the first wave of the IA program, this indicator was brought up to 100% where it remained for six continuous months.
The hospital’s success rate with this indicator continues to remain in the mid-90% range and the hospital has reaped many benefits from having an internal expert in improvement. What has benefited the hospital most is the application of the Model for Improvement and the use of plotting data over time. The hospital staff have responded very well to the idea of answering the model’s three key questions and they have been empowered by the learning from running their own rapid PDSA cycles.
Delnor Community Hospital Clinical Dashboard
Participant Testimonials:
"This course has been a time of new insights and learning as well as personal development for me. It has led to my developing a project that is having an unexpected impact in my group's practice area. The course's faculty has been phenomenal in their teaching techniques and also in their dedication to our growth and learning. Having the ongoing interaction with our classmates and their projects gives additional boost in the accumulation of knowledge. The IHI staff has also been outstanding in course organization and logistics. Overall, this has been one of the highlight experiences of my life."
— Jerry W. Jackson, MD, Nephrology Associates, PC
"The program is great! Even though I have been in quality for three years and thought I knew the methodology, the class has added additional dimensions. The instructors are very knowledgeable, approachable, and open. We quickly developed a community and I have already been in touch with several of the other IA fellows. It is one of the best networking opportunities that I have ever been involved with."
— Barbara Zellerino, Director of Quality, St. Mary’s Medical Center
"The course is organized to teach a concept, discuss its practical application in our own hospital’s operation, then to write actionable plans to apply the concepts in our organizations. It is a great way to learn and realize immediate benefit. I returned to my organization with tangible, actionable plans in my hand. Not just a bunch of good ideas. I feel much more confident leading people in our organization as an Improvement Advisor now that I have the tools and support from this IHI program."
— Craig J. Brandt, RPh, MBA, Director of Performance Improvement, Northern Westchester Hospital, Stellaris Health
Participant Quotes:
"An Improvement Advisor increases the likelihood that changes you [a team] make will result in sustained improvement.”
"This course and the project increased my confidence to speak up in the Improvement Advisor role.”
"I am more focused, more productive; there is a system from which I can get results.”
"I am more productive using the structure and having a system to work within; I know the boundaries and facilitate results. I have resources available to me, other people, and books. Now I know how to set parameters on an improvement project.”
"Now, when I go to a team meeting, I prepare in advance, I keep the meetings organized and short.”
"I have clarified my role compared to the role of a subject matter expert; I have increased confidence and I am able to speak up and get members of the team to think and to fix problems. I can use the lens of profound knowledge and understand its value.”