WIHI: Claiming the Edge with Quality Improvement in Communities

Date: February 23, 2017


  • Ninon Lewis, MS, Executive Director, Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI)
  • Soma Stout, MD, MS, Executive External Lead for Health Improvement, IHI
  • Greg Vandenberg, Director of Giving and Community Engagement, USVenture, Inc.
  • Susan Hannah, Head of Improvement Programmes – Early Years Collaborative & Raising Attainment for All, Scottish Government
  • Renee Boynton Jarrett, MD, ScD, Founding Director, Vital Village Community Engagement Network

What do communities in Northeast Wisconsin, Scotland, and Boston have in common? More than you might think. Increasingly, they share a view of what it takes to build coalitions and collaborations that can change the trajectory of people’s lives and health… for the better. And in all three locations, the methods and tools of quality improvement (QI) to tackle socioeconomic issues ― not just health status ― are proving to be a game changer.

Increasingly, we’re recognizing that health care needs to look beyond its walls to better understand and influence the upstream issues impacting health. What we don’t always appreciate is that some communities focused on reducing poverty or creating early childhood pathways to school readiness are now applying the same improvement methodology that’s helped health systems improve care. This increasingly shared mindset bodes well for the creation of more sophisticated alliances across sectors to address many of the underlying contributors to poor health.

To illustrate what this looks like on the ground, the February 23 WIHI shines a light on three community initiatives: the Children and Young People Improvement Collaborative in Scotland  the NE Wisconsin Poverty Outcomes and Improvement Network Team (POINT); and Vital Village (part of SCALE) in Boston. You’ll hear about the role of funders; the enormous difference a broad coalition of stakeholders can make; that relationships matter right along with good leaders; and that improvement skills ―​ knowing how to develop driver diagrams, how to conduct small tests of change, and what and how to measure ―​ can not only be taught, they can move the dial.

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