5 Trends for the Future of Healthcare Quality

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement marked 25 years of quality improvement with its annual meeting, themed "25 years of 'Ah-ha' Moments." The conference attracted more than 5,000 industry professionals and focused on the value of care, improvement, the triple aim, patient-centered care and patient safety. John Gallagher, senior lean consultant with Simpler Consulting, shares his top takeaways from IHI's conference.

1. Flipping healthcare. "In Maureen Bisognano's [IHI's president and CEO] opening keynote, she stared stories from patients who have stressed what they 'really, really want' from their healthcare providers.  The correlation between the number of waking hours in a year (5,000 or more) and the amount of time we may spend at the doctor’s office (two hours) shows the need to 'flip' health care.  She encouraged all patients to consider 'making our day harder,' by adopting good behaviors and thinking about our health year round versus only when we are in the doctor’s office," said Mr. Gallagher.

2. Raising the bar on leadership. "Employed disciplined leadership will be required [for quality], up to and including the board of directors. John Toussaint, former CEO of Thedacare (Appleton, Wis.) and current CEO of the Thedacare Healthcare Value Network, stressed the importance of raising the bar for health system boards.  Boards must take the long view, stay strategic and let managers manage. Without disciplined leadership, a desire to coach and mentor others and a culture of continuous improvement, short-term gains will not be sustainable," said Mr. Gallagher.

3. The move from healthcare to health creation. "In IHI president emeritus Don Berwick's, MD, closing keynote address, he referenced the need to move from healthcare, in essence the treatment of sickness, to health creation. Simply pursuing reduced costs and improved outcomes, while important, does not drive individual behaviors. He asked the audience to consider their reason for creating health. In Don’s case, his reason for creating health was being able to spend time with his two-year old grandson," said Mr. Gallagher.

4. Team-based, collaborative care. "There was clearly a theme of moving toward collaborative versus individual care. To do this, there will be a significant paradigm shift required by the more traditional physicians who see the need for face to face as the primary way to build relationships," said Mr. Gallagher

5. Social media will (and should) play a part in our learning and sharing.  "Paul Levy, retired CEO of Boston-based Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, held a lunch-n-learn to discuss the way he stays engaged and learns with social media, attended by more than 500 people. He talked about the advantages and disadvantages of having your own blog along with participating in the community that is Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn," said Mr. Gallagher. 

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