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IHI, Midas+, and NAHQ Award First Dr. Heller Memorial Scholarship

By IHI Open School | Friday, January 18, 2013

Carolyn Stramecki said she learned a lot from the IHI Open School course QI 104 “Putting It All Together – How Quality Improvement Works in Real Health Settings.” She displayed that learning in an improvement project that won her the Dr. Heller Memorial Scholarship.


The scholarship, offered by NAHQ, in collaboration with IHI and Midas+, honors the memory of Christopher Jonas Heller, MD. Heller, who died in 2010, was a distinguished physician and surgeon with a vision for quality improvement.


Applicants for the scholarship, which is available to a NAHQ member or a Midas+ client, must complete a major quality improvement project that reflects learning from the IHI Open School courses. By winning, Stramecki, MHSA, CPHQ, earned free travel and registration to IHI’s 24th Annual National Forum on Quality Improvement and NAHQ’s 38th Annual Conference this October.


Stramecki’s project focused on Michigan’s “Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment (POST) Pilot Program,” a program based on Oregon’s “Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) paradigm addressing public concern that patients’ end-of-life medical treatment wishes were not known or honored. She identified three communities in Michigan that had experience with the Oregon model, each using its own version of the POLST form. Additionally, they lacked a protocol and training program for Emergency Medical Services (EMS).


The project, which is ongoing, aims to implement the EMS protocol in the pilot communities and test the POST form for statewide spread.


Stramecki says QI104 “Putting It All Together—How Quality Improvement Works in Real Health Settings” helped her organize her thinking around the project. More specifically, it helped her to identify the role of influential community leaders, brainstorm anticipated needs of the participating organizations and target population, and create strategies for user segments, such as a peer-to-peer model for communication, training, and mentoring. The course teaches students about the four phases of an improvement project’s life cycle: innovation, pilot, implementation, and spread.


“While all courses in the QI series presented useful tools, knowledge enhancement and examples for achieving quality improvement, QI104 had a major impact on project design and implementation,” says Stramecki.


Thanks to her success on the POST project, Stramecki was recently named the project director for the Michigan Coalition Honoring Healthcare Choices. She had been working as a Performance Improvement Specialist at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, MI.


Dr. Heller Memorial


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