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Improvement Advisor Professional Development Program

​Effective and lasting improvement is usually brought about through a committed team effort. 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 organization, deliver successful results, and spread changes across the entire system. Organizations that achieve multiple and sustained improvements usually have the invaluable leadership of an IA at the helm of their improvement initiatives.
Where do Improvement Advisors come from?
Most health care organizations 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 summarize 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), has designed this richly packed professional development program to help health care Improvement Advisors further develop and enhance their skills. The goal of this program is to empower participants to become highly effective leaders in helping their organizations accomplish strategic improvement plans.

Who Should Attend

Health care professionals who are currently regarded as leaders of improvement efforts within the organization and want to deepen their knowledge and enhance their effectiveness in this role. Often these individuals hold titles such as:
  • Director or VP of Quality Improvement
  • Quality coach/facilitator
  • Chief Quality Officer
  • Quality Improvement specialist
Others who would benefit from this program include clinical leaders (physicians, nurses, allied health professionals) who want to make substantial improvements in the care of individuals and the health of populations, while reducing health care costs.

Program​ Design and Focus

The design of this program allows participants to achieve maximum results by immediately applying the skills they learn to every day work situations. The curriculum is built around the theoretical framework of W.E. Deming’s System of Profound Knowledge, as well as the Model for Improvement, which serves as a road map for accomplishing improvement initiatives.
Each IA accepted into the program will be responsible for one or more improvement projects during the workshop period that are connected to his or her organization’s strategic business plan. These projects, which provide a real-time application of content and an opportunity to cement the participant's learning, will be the focus of the workshops and ongoing support activities.

Improvement Projects

A core element of this program is the improvement project that each participant is required to bring to the program. The project is valuable in several ways: it provides participants with a chance to achieve results in an improvement project important to their organization, and it gives the IA a living laboratory in which to apply learning from the program. It is important that the project is not only meaningful to the organization, but also that its key objective is to achieve improved results. The project may be in any of the following categories:
  • Improving quality of care
  • 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
During the ten-month Improvement Advisor program, participants will meet for three four-day learning and working sessions. In between, during the Action Period assignments, participants engage in monthly webinars and benefit from individualized coaching, feedback, and support from expert faculty members.​​

Participant Testimonials:  

"This course has been a time of new insights and learning as well as personal development for me. It has led to my developing a project that is having an unexpected impact in my group's practice area. The course's faculty has been phenomenal in their teaching techniques and also in their dedication to our growth and learning. Having the ongoing interaction with our classmates and their projects gives additional boost in the accumulation of knowledge. The IHI staff has also been outstanding in course organization and logistics. Overall, this has been one of the highlight experiences of my life."

— Jerry W. Jackson, MD, Nephrology Associates, PC


"The program is great! Even though I have been in quality for three years and thought I knew the methodology, the class has added additional dimensions. The instructors are very knowledgeable, approachable, and open. We quickly developed a community and I have already been in touch with several of the other IA fellows. It is one of the best networking opportunities that I have ever been involved with."

— Barbara Zellerino, Director of Quality, St. Mary’s Medical Center


"The course is organized to teach a concept, discuss its practical application in our own hospital’s operation, then to write actionable plans to apply the concepts in our organizations. It is a great way to learn and realize immediate benefit. I returned to my organization with tangible, actionable plans in my hand. Not just a bunch of good ideas. I feel much more confident leading people in our organization as an Improvement Advisor now that I have the tools and support from this IHI program."

— Craig J. Brandt, RPh, MBA, Director of Performance Improvement, Northern Westchester Hospital, Stellaris Health