WIHI: How to Beat the Boring Aspects of QI

Date: June 14, 2017

  • Christina Pagel, PhD, MSc, IHI Fellow and 2016-2017 Harkness Fellow in Health Care Policy and Practice (Commonwealth Fund)
  • Jennifer Reed Beloff, RN, MSN, APN, Executive Director of Quality, Brigham and Women's Hospital
  • Dorien Zwart, MD, PhD, 2016-2017 Harkness Fellow in Health Care Policy and Practice (Commonwealth Fund)

​Learning from failure is an important part of quality improvement in health care. But what can we learn from improvement efforts that languish or stall due to the inglorious nature of the work itself? 

This issue has caught the attention of a researcher and a physician who argue in a recent article in NEJM Catalyst that not all QI initiatives are created equal; some are inherently more interesting and enjoy a higher profile in an organization (e.g., reducing sepsis), while other projects, no matter how necessary (e.g., decreasing patient no-shows), occur out of the spotlight, are tedious and, sometimes, just plain boring. Is that a fair characterization of what goes on in your organization? Would you put it another way? 

Of course, what's boring is often in the eye of the beholder. Developing the technological and administrative processes needed to get information from primary to acute care — and the other way around — in a timely, accurate fashion may cause the eyes of some members of your clinic staff to glaze over, while others are completely energized. We discussed navigating that dynamic with our guests on the June 14 episode of WIHI.


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