Why It Matters
Because health and health care need improvement.
Processing ...

QI Field Trip: The UNH IHI Open School Chapter Comes to Cambridge

By IHI Open School | Monday, June 11, 2012

Is your chapter in the Boston area? Have you considered taking advantage of touring the IHI offices and meeting the Open School staff?


If you haven’t, then you should! If you did not know about the opportunity, then start inquiring! And if you are thoroughly disappointed that you are geographically unable to visit, I honestly cannot blame you.


What I can do is offer you an inside scoop on the environment of IHI: engrained in the values of quality improvement and innovation, the offices are the epitome of an unforgettably original and exciting organizational culture.


The IHI offices are housed in the high rises of the Charles Hotel in the heart of Cambridge, overlooking the locally beloved Charles River. Immediately upon exiting the elevators, guests and employees alike are greeted with a motivating segment of the IHI’s mission statement displayed in large font above the reception area. The open floor plan invites group collaboration with only the slightest segmentation of task forces, by either low dividers or glass frames. Each task force is encouraged to gather centrally at their shared tables throughout the day, again showing how highly teamwork is valued in the organization.


Interesting and colorful progress boards are found throughout the hallways, offering information on upcoming goals, previous achievements, and often a comical comment for a good laugh or two. One wall is strictly dedicated to displaying the history behind IHI, like a timeline, reminding all whom explore the building of the hard work and underlying values that have allowed this organization to continually improve and flourish.


Have I mentioned the numerous quotes strategically strewn throughout the office space? Not only were they visually pleasing, but they were thought provoking and encouraging. As students, we all looked around and could envision ourselves working in such an amazing space. Or perhaps it was the idea that one’s organizational culture could be genuinely represented in the design of their workplace. If we are to proclaim the ideas of interdisciplinary collaboration, transfer of knowledge, empowerment of staff, and evidence-based best practice, what better place to start than to immerse yourself daily in a floor plan that is supportive of just that?


Without going on and on much more about how the beliefs, values, and aspirations of IHI were evident in each staff member as well, I will share the takeaways that a number of fellow peers shared after our tour:


“Inspiring to see quality improvement in action at such a large scale…great opportunity and encouraged us to use IHI resources now and in the future”



“I found all of the quotes on the walls inspiring as well as the enthusiasm of our tour guide and the people with whom we stopped and spoke with along the way. It showed that they are not just people sitting behind desks pushing out tutorials for the front lines. They are passionate about their work, live their mission and vision, and truly care about making hospitals and ambulatory care settings a safer, better environment.”



“At first I was confused as to why we were taking a tour through an office building — aren't they all the same? But I soon learned that there is value in seeing and understanding how IHI employees work.  The atmosphere within the office seems to mirror the philosophies of the organization. Meeting with the IHI Open School team was also a very useful conversation. I didn't realize how new the concept is and how much it is still evolving. I felt that the meeting was beneficial on both sides (I hope it was!) since the Open School course work focuses on quality improvement just as the CNL does.”



“They were extremely kind and do amazing work. I thoroughly enjoyed it.”



The tour encouraged future use of IHI resources when no longer a student IHI is a life-long valuable resource.”



“Their enthusiasm for their work was infectious. Our cohort got so much out of this visit and we are excited about bringing IHI resources into our future practice.”



“IHI is a community of innovative, forward thinkers and it was exciting to see and have hope for the future of health care!”



“I appreciated the folks at their desk that took a minute to tell us what their job entailed. The personalization brought it to life … I’m interested in staying connected and motivated to complete the QI process through IHI.”



“I loved that their work environment matches their philosophy. The workplace truly would inspire collaborative teamwork, creative thinking, and inspired innovations. Everyone was incredibly friendly, open, and approachable. We felt so welcome; it was great to have the open discussion at the end too to learn more about IHI, and it was awesome to see the IHI team genuinely interested in our feedback”



“I greatly appreciated the open management structure. It was nice to see a more horizontal leadership approach outside of the textbook. From my view, openness facilitates the creative process.”



- Jessica Hatch, Nursing Student, IHI Open School Chapter Leader, University of New Hampshire


Originally posted on June 11, 2012

Average Content Rating
(0 user)
Please login to rate or comment on this content.
User Comments

© 2022 Institute for Healthcare Improvement. All rights reserved.