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Session Details

Effective and lasting improvement is usually brought about through a committed team effort. But that effort should be guided by the steady hand of someone whose expertise and experience with improvement work increases the team's potential for success.

The Improvement Advisor (IA) is devoted to helping identify, plan, and execute improvement projects throughout an organisation, deliver successful results, and spread changes across the entire system. Organisations that achieve multiple and sustained improvements usually have the invaluable leadership of an IA at the helm of their improvement initiatives. Most health care organisations turn to internal resources for improvement leadership, but in many cases, there is no one with the required training, expertise, and support to perform this role. In fact, individuals with the necessary skills to serve as IAs are relatively rare.

To effectively meet the demands of the job, IAs need more than just an interest in improvement work. They need a solid foundation, advanced knowledge and skills in the art and science of improvement, plus the ability to work with and coach front-line teams in achieving and maintaining successful changes. IAs must also be able to communicate effectively with senior management to summarise progress on improvement projects and, clearly articulate needed sponsorship and support when projects become stalled. 

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), in conjunction with Associates in Process Improvement (API), offers the Improvement Advisor Professional Development Programme to help individuals in this critical role build and hone such skills. This richly-packed, ten-month programme is an “all teach, all learn” experience that offers:
  • The advanced knowledge and skills you need to excel in the art and science of improvement
  • Instruction on how to use a framework comprising practical skills and theory to drive whole system changes
  • A collaborative learning environment and actionable ideas that will help you achieve maximum results
Don Berwick, MD, on the "Diamonds" of Improvement
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Each participant will be required to direct one or more improvement projects (connected to his or her organisation’s business plan) during the programme. The project provides a double benefit — a chance to achieve results in an active improvement project and a living laboratory to apply learning. The improvement project may be in any one of three categories:

  • Improving quality of care and services

  • Reducing costs while maintaining or improving quality

  • Expanding patient or customer satisfaction with the development of new services or innovative ways of providing existing services

The design of this programme allows participants to achieve maximum results by immediately applying the skills they learn to everyday work situations. It is this combination of theory applied to daily work that makes the Improvement Advisor Professional Development Programme unique and provides a foundation for making improvements long after the programme is completed.​


Context for Developing Improvement Advisors

Successful improvement efforts require that organisations have will, ideas, and execution. 

  • Having the will (desire) to change the current state to one that is better

  • Developing ideas that will contribute to making processes and outcomes better

  • Have the capacity to apply quality theories, tools and techniques that enable execution of the ideas

Skilled Improvement Advisors are a vital asset and increase organisational capacity for improvement. These individuals have the capability to apply quality theories, tools and techniques that enable execution of the ideas for improvement. They are currently involved in improvement efforts within their organisation and want to deepen their knowledge and enhance their effectiveness.

An Improvement Advisor:

  • Serves as an effective leader, consultant and facilitator

  • Possesses a deep knowledge of the science of improvement and improvement methodologies

  • Uses data to guide improvement

  • Possesses both quantitative and qualitative skills and tools to accomplish the improvement strategies of the organisation

  • Helps identify, plan and execute improvement projects throughout all levels of the organisation

  • Plays the lead role in helping teams deliver successful results

  • Provides critical guidance in the sequence of improvement (testing, implementing and spreading) changes through the entire system

  • Has a major portion of their work focused on improvement

  • Viewed by senior leadership as strategically vital assets to the organisation​