One of the rewarding aspects of IHQI’s work with Improvement Scholars is the ability to keep up with the progress of their initiatives over time. On June 26, 2019, IHQI hosted 3 former Improvement Scholars at a Speaker Series event in Bondurant G-100. Each speaker shared the successes and challenges she faced with project sustainment and spread. The speakers and their respective initiatives included:

Christine Hedges, PhD, RN—IHQI project from 2016-2017: Quiet Time: Reducing Noise to Improve Patient Care

Laura Hanson, MD—IHQI project from 2015-2016: Palliative and Oncology Care for Patients with Advanced Cancer

Lavinia Kolarczyk, MD—IHQI project from 2014-2015: Enhanced Recovery after Surgery

Dr. Hedges kicked off the presentations with an update of “Quiet Time,” including access to the toolkit. After realizing a project “refresh” was needed, the team conducted a condensed Express Workout to review the A3. One of the more promising results of the refresh was the idea of empowering patients to report noise in their area. The team is excited about the potential that increased patient involvement will have on improvement. Dr. Hedges shared that continually reviewing the target state has helped with project sustainment.

Dr. Hanson presented next, with an update on “Collaborative Oncology Palliative Care for Patients with Advanced Care.” Her tips for sustaining improved quality include:

  • Create meaningful partnerships and new collaborations
  • Make sure the problem is important to both clinicians and leadership
  • Keep in mind that a QI project is a multi-year process
  • Seek funding for data collection and staff support

Finally, Dr. Kolarczyk presented her update on “ERAS: Enhanced Recovery After Surgery.” Although her project is spreading hospital and system-wide, she stressed the importance of “starting small and thinking big” by informing the audience of her two favorite P’s: “Pilot Project.” By starting ERAS with one patient population, Dr. Kolarczyk was able to demonstrate her proof of concept, gain insight about herself and her patients, and collect data for formal research and grant submissions. She then discussed the need to engage your stakeholders and develop roles and responsibilities for team members. Dr. Kolarczyk concluded her talk with tips on how to engage leadership by “speaking their language.” She also shared resources available at UNC, including Performance Improvement and Patient Safety (PIPS) and the Enhanced Recovery Program.

Audience members provided very positive feedback, stating the presentations were “clear, relevant and provided many lessons learned.” A recording of the event is available for viewing. We thank our speakers for providing rich insight into the sustainment and spread of their QI initiatives, and look forward to hearing about the continued success of their efforts.