Improvement Science


See how your peers surpassed challenges using improvement methods. Choose from 175+ sessions to attend, organized through 10 topics that are vital to the improvement of care.

​The Improvement Science topic track is dedicated to applying concepts and tools of improvement science to drive meaningful change.


Pick Your Sessions Today!

Sessions at the IHI National Forum can fill to capacity. Register and select your sessions today to avoid disappointment.

Conference Sessions
Dece​m​ber 10–11​

Skin in the Game: Accountability and Pressure Injury Analytics​
A01, B01
Researchers estimate that 2.5 million patients annually are impacted by pressure injuries, the majority of which may be preventable. For health care leaders, having confirmed, accurate, actionable pressure injury incidence data is critical for mitigating risk and decreasing the probability for developing and evolving pressure injury in the hospitalized patient.

In this session, attendees will explore tactics for developing an improvement science implementation, including workflow redesign and two informatics solutions, to improve pressure injury analytics.
Replicating Improvement at Scale
A11, B11
Drawing on the analytical framework set out in the recent Health Foundation report "The Spread Challenge," this session will explore approaches for spreading improvement interventions and supporting their successful adoption.

It will look at various strategies for codifying interventions, such as theory-of-change models and capability-based models, that can help adopters translate the interventions into their own context.
“Learning Health Systems”: Buzzword to Science
A13, B13
A learning healthcare system, as envisioned by the Institute of Medicine, integrates innovation into the care experience. Numerous, laudable examples are emerging that vary in real-world application of these concepts.

In this session, health care leaders will illustrate how these systems combine quality improvement and implementation science to accelerate learning.
The F Word!! Learning from Failure
A15, B15
Quality improvement (QI) approaches celebrate and encourage failure for the rich learning opportunity it provides. However, in reality, people desire positive results and workplace culture often makes us fear failure. This session will present an honest account of setting up quality improvement (QI) programs in large mental health and acute settings in England and Wales.
Improved Patient Flow Using Quality-Based Pathways
A16, B16
By identifying and monitoring the key elements of quality standards in a patient's care journey, patients can be well-prepared for the next phase of their recovery.This presentation will demonstrate how the implementation of clinical pathways supported efforts to integrate quality-related practices while improving efficiencies for inpatient units at a specialized mental health institution.
Transforming Patient Care Through Standardization
With the goal of becoming a leader in improving patient outcomes and achieving zero harm by 2026, Piedmont Healthcare (PHC) has designed a successful methodology for the development of clinical best practices and standard work through the delivery of 'Promise Packages'. This tool is used by frontline staff, management, and leadership alike as a one-stop-shop providing a comprehensive set of resources, including performance-tracking tools, across an 11-hospital health care system.
Improve Your Organization via Value Stream Management
Management of data acquisition and conversion into quantifiable goals and process improvement work is a significant requirement for hospitals today. Memorial Health System utilizes a value stream management approach that allows senior leadership, frontline managers, value stream owners (embedded Lean Six Sigma Black Belts), patient safety coordinators, data scientists, and patient experience liaisons to identify and define key performance indicators that enhance the identification of process improvement work critical to the organization.

Attendees at this session will walk through an experiential exercise around the development and definition of the value stream structure (based upon the Donabedian Model) and the processes that surround the structure.
Launching a New Generation Command Center
Have you ever been overwhelmed with dashboards and data, yet lacked the information needed to manage your organization? In this session, participants will learn how physicians, nurses, IT professionals, managers, and leaders at Mount Sinai St. Luke's in New York City used Lean methodology to harness data from the electronic medical record and designed a new generation command center, the James Jones Daily Management and Incident Command Center (DMC), to transparently display real-time information.

Improving Care Processes for Ageing in Place
A Home-Based Primary Care Practice had a waiting list of eligible patients, and the team recognized a need to optimize processes to expand the program. In addition to expanding the patient census, the team envisioned increasing employee engagement and empowering staff to drive change. This session will provide insight into how improvement tools can be used in combination to maximize buy-in and benefit. The example walks through phases of work that included qualitative interviews, root cause analysis, value/non-value-add analysis, swim lane diagrams, brainstorming, a priority payoff matrix, and tracking ownership and timelines for completion.
Timely Care: Insights From a 3-Year Case Study
Improved patient flow increases the safety and quality of care. Across the state of Victoria, Australia, significant access and patient flow issues have been experienced in the face of rising demand. A partnership between Victorian government agencies and health care providers sought to improve timeliness of access to emergency care through a systemic focus on patient flow.

In this session, participants will learn from Safer Care Victoria's experience implementing patient flow partnerships over a three-year period, which resulted in 50,000 more patients achieving timely access to emergency care.
Using IHI's Reliability Concepts to Implement RTDC
In Radboudumc, one of the biggest academic hospitals in the Netherlands, we had 25 units that were each responsible for their own bed planning. Every day, some units had a shortage of beds, and some units had beds available. In the units with a shortage of beds, doctors and nurses spent a lot of time trying to fix the problems as they occurred. There was no overview of bed usage and availability, and there was no coordination between the different units. This led to delays, off-service patients, and regular last-minute cancellation of treatments.In June 2018, Radboudumc implemented IHI's Real-Time Demand and Capacity Management (RTDC), an administrative system that matches the supply of beds to the demand for beds across the hospital.
Creating Health System Innovation at Scale
Why do some innovations spread faster than others? At Ariadne Labs we create scalable solutions to improve health care delivery. We have identified challenges for spreading innovation, including understanding organizational readiness for change, such as leadership commitment, capabilities, teamwork, and culture. We built a context-assessment tool to improve the likelihood of successful implementation of health innovations. Implementation and research teams need a context-assessment tool to better identify where and when to implement, as well as to inform design and support of their implementation efforts to reach more facilities and providers effectively and efficiently.
Using Communications Strategies to Accelerate Quality Improvement
D08, E08​
It can take weeks or months to plan a QI project; doesn't it make sense to spend time developing a plan to communicate with important stakeholders to help ensure its success?Just as any viable QI initiative should have a measurement strategy, teams should have a communications strategy to mobilize the will to change, convey the ideas and evidence needed to accelerate improvement, and support the execution and spread of effective interventions.
A Knowledge Commons Supercharges Learning Networks

D14, E14​
Going beyond a local system to create a dispersed learning network allows for a wider pool of people and ideas. This requires a virtual knowledge commons or Learning Exchange to support sharing across distance and time. Quality team members, patients, family, physicians, and researchers will discuss challenges and successes.

Attendees will learn user-centered design principles for developing a Learning Exchange, the importance of continuous evolution, and the benefits of a shared platform.
How Virtual Collaboration Can Ignite Improvement
D15, E15​
Virtual collaboration fuels large scale improvements, enabling us to involve more people, engage patients and families in a less daunting way, involve colleagues without taking them from their jobs, increase diversity, and make better decisions. We will share case studies from our virtual collaboration work with thousands of frontline staff and patients across the English National Health Service, through which we built shared purpose, accelerated outcomes, slashed travel costs and environmental impact, and improved care.
Better Maternal Outcomes: Redesigning Systems with Black Women

D19, E19​
A growing awareness of preventable maternal harm stems in part from striking racial inequalities in outcomes in the United States. High-volume delivery centers in Washington, DC and Detroit have partnered with community organizations and individuals. They codesigned services which build trust and improve outcomes. This work is based on critical quality improvement principles: that those most affected by the delivery system possess a wealth of change ideas, and that communities possess key assets for improvement.
Data Visualization for Quality Improvement

D20, E20​
Communicating ideas and making decisions both require effective visual displays. Analytic challenges for improvement include identifying trends, patterns, or relationships in data and analyzing sources of variation. We will present graphical methods for different types of improvement studies with an emphasis on time series methods that afford a whole-system view, including underutilized Shewhart control charts. Using practical examples, we will highlight key principles for quality improvement teams and challenge participants to critique and design graphics.
Bridge QI and IS Gap to Reduce Opioid Prescribing

D25, E25​
Reducing opioid use is a complex problem that requires tailored solutions. Traditional quality improvement methods facilitate context-specific changes. Implementation science provides tools to increase uptake. We used a new framework, the Model for Improvement and Implementation (MFII), which systematically integrates both approaches. Through the MFII, we implement an intervention to reduce surgical prescribing of opioids. This framework to identify barriers and strengthen support for implementation is applicable to other complex issues.

​​Pre-Conference Workshops & Excursions
Dece​m​ber 8–9​

Sunday Half-Day Workshop
See to Solve: Translating Toyota
This workshop provides a structured approach to high-velocity improvement, including tools and methodology. Expert faculty will challenge attendees thinking and simulate the critical skills required for high performance. Learning will be enriched with examples of digital solutions that enable rapid identification and real-time connectivity.

The following case studies with data will be shared: The translation of Toyota theory to achieve redesign of care systems for Older Adults, including the concept of ˜Flipped Discharge; The Baldrige Award “winning Charleston Area Medical Center sustained transformation of reducing deferrals and increasing revenue while improving staff satisfaction and patient experience.​

Sunday Half-Day Workshop
Accelerating QI Top Ten Tips
This interactive session will offer 10 tips for improvement and practical techniques from successful improvement programs around the world. We will discuss key QI methods, collaboration, and networking, as well as creating conditions for change, co-designing with patients and families, measuring what matters, understanding your context, and sustaining gains. Examples include diverse patient populations with a focus on reducing inequities. Everyone, including presenters, will pledge to test one new idea and leave with a plan. 
Sunday Half-Day Workshop
Physician Quality Improvement: QI from the Ground Up
Quality Improvement (QI) is the common ground between physicians and administrators. Engaging physicians in quality improvement allows them to engage in the larger health care system and make it a constantly improving enterprise. This session will describe a bottom-up approach to developing a QI program and QI capability. Participants will learn about the multi-year journey of Physician Quality Improvement (PQI), a grassroots, physician-led QI program in British Columbia, Canada, and use learnings and stories from this example to develop their own path forward.

Sunday Half-Day Workshop
Learning Statistical Thinking Through Games
Teaching statistical improvement concepts need not be boring nor didactic. Some of last century's greatest quality ambassadors developed games to help improvement leaders experience important concepts first-hand, such as common versus special cause variation, experimentation, variation reduction, and process tampering. This workshop runs several of these classic games to help attendees experience and internalize ˜thinking like a statistician" in a pragmatic way.
Monday Full-Day Workshop
Open Wide: Dental Safety and Quality, from Sealants, to Scaling, to Sedation
This session for anyone with an interest in improving the quality and safety of oral health care delivery will present approaches for dental adverse event (DAE) reporting and dental quality metrics (DQM) development.

The morning session will incorporate a series of short talks discussing cutting-edge dental patient safety efforts ranging from sedation safety to safety culture. Additional short talks will canvas the use of technology to drive QI, the intersection between cost and QI, and how a large practice successfully strives for high quality.
Monday Full-Day Workshop
Empathy-Based Innovation Lab Toolkit in a Box
Learn to lead innovation workshops to support a culture of creative inquiry using materials that fit into one small box. Pairing Silicon Valley design thinking with rapid cycle innovation, use improvisational games and patient-centric empathy-gathering excursions to develop innovative solutions to health care problems.

Attendees will leave with lesson plans and exercises to facilitate their own low-cost workshops. This session will be taught by a former improvisational theater instructor who helps frontline staff solve everyday problems.
Monday Full-Day Workshop
The Psychology of Change: People-Driven Methods to Unlock Resistance & Unleash QI
IHI's Psychology of Change Framework helps leaders at all levels focus on the people advancing improvement efforts: the way that we think and feel, what motivates us, and how we behave when we encounter change.

This session engages participants in developing pragmatic ideas to apply to their improvement context in response to people’s resistance and other adaptive challenges. Everyone is encouraged to come with a willingness to play, build new relationships, reflect on the experience of change, share ideas and resources, and have fun!
Full-Day Workshop
Lead Courageous QI with Improv & Collaboration
Experienced change-makers know to expect the unexpected when leading improvement. So why does traditional quality improvement (QI) training focus almost exclusively on technical tools built to foster statistical control? How are we systematically training the psychology component, or the art of improvement, from Deming's System of Profound Knowledge? For the last three years, ICSI has taught more than 3000 physicians, leaders, and staff an adaptive approach to QI that marries the Model for Improvement to improvisation.

Monday Half-Day Workshop
Large Scale Change is Easy, Right? Insights & Tips
This workshop will present learning from the development and running of a large scale change programme (in Maternity and Neonatal care) in England over the last 2.5 years. The programme has a national footprint and is currently focused on five clinical interventions aiming to improve safety and outcomes, reduce variation and provide high quality healthcare experience.
This workshop will show how to work to prevent duplication, spread learning between initiatives and increase alignment.

Monday Half-Day Workshop
Words Matter: How WORDS Impact Results
The idea behind Words Matter is that the success of a concept can turn on a word. Words Matter is a well-tested process that was developed to create, test, and zero in on the right words to influence behavior. It's been used with great success by leading companies such as Procter & Gamble to change minds and habits but, until now, it has seldom been applied in health care. It's time to change that.

During this interactive workshop, participants will explore examples and case studies from within and outside of health care to learn about the impact of language and choose words that matter by measuring them against three key criteria.