Accelerating improvement in health care

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Coordinating and Building Improvement Capability

In order to make Saskatchewan health care better and safer, HQC works closely with a network of regional and organizational improvement specialists to:

  • Coordinate and support the training of health system leaders, managers and providers in continuous improvement tools and methodologies;
  • Report on the impact of improvement activity occurring within the health system;
  • Coordinate a schedule of improvement events across the province; and
  • Spread the improvements achieved in one area to similar settings.

Here are some specific examples of how we carry out this work:

Clinical Quality Improvement Program

During 2017 HQC, in collaboration with the Saskatchewan Medical Association and the Ministry of Health, will pilot a Clinical Quality Improvement Program (CQIP) for physicians and other health care providers.

CQIP is an 11-month course that is designed to build capability for leading improvement work, with a particular focus on clinical quality improvement projects. The program includes a mix of theory and experiential learning, along with individual coaching and a community of practice. This is a sister program to the internationally recognized mini-Advanced Training Program, which was developed by Intermountain Healthcare system (based in Utah). It has been adapted for the Saskatchewan health care system.

An application for CQIP can be downloaded here. NOTE: Deadline for submissions has been extended until 5PM November 13, 2016. Physicians who have already applied have the option to revise and re-submit their application.

Lean Improvement Leaders Training (LILT)

In collaboration with regional partners, HQC led the development and implementation of Lean Improvement Leaders Training. The LILT program is focused on helping front-line leaders – such as managers, supervisors, and other improvement champions – develop knowledge and skills to lead their staff in applying continuous improvement methods and approaches. LILT is an applied program; participants have the opportunity to put the concepts and theory into action in their own local work areas. LILT has been offered across the province since 2014.

In early 2016, we commissioned an independent evaluation of LILT, to better understand the process and impact of the program, and to identify potential modifications. Dr. Lois Berry, Interim Assistant Vice-Provost (Health), Health Sciences Council, surveyed and interviewed LILT participants, coaches, and facilitators, and reviewed the 10 course modules. Respondents reported that they liked the applied nature of the program and the flipped classroom model; they identified support from supervisors and opportunities to network with other participants as keys to success in LILT. The report recommends balancing the level of complexity across the different modules, finding ways to better meet the diverse learning needs of participants, and ensuring people have enough time to do the course work. Read Dr. Berry’s full evaluation report.

Kaizen Network

‘Kaizen’ is a term that refers to continuous improvement. The Kaizen Network includes improvement leaders and specialists supporting continuous improvement throughout Saskatchewan’s health system. HQC coordinates and hosts bi-weekly teleconferences/webinars to keep members of this community connected, so that they can learn from one another. HQC encourages partner organizations to share highlights, insights, challenges, and promising practices with colleagues, and actively facilitates opportunities for this sharing to take place. 

Learning Series

Started in 2015, HQC hosts a free monthly Learning Series for anyone who is actively engaged in and supporting continuous improvement in Saskatchewan’s health system. This includes patient and family advisors, health care providers, leaders, and improvement consultants. Presenters have included HQC employees, improvement specialists from our partner organizations, and guest speakers from outside the health system. To date, topics have related to measurement for improvement, continuous improvement tools and methods, leadership and coaching, and the human side of change.

Reporting on Improvement in Health Care

HQC works closely with its health system partners – including health regions, provincial agencies, and the Ministry of Health – to establish and maintain consistent standards for measuring and reporting on improvement activity that is underway across the system, as well as the impact it is having at individual points of care. We continue to develop standards for aggregating and reporting the provincial impacts on patient care and outcomes.


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