Empowering Champions: Building a Quality Improvement Education Program
Research shows that organizations with a robust quality improvement education program experience improved patient safety and outcomes. With that in mind, the Quality and Outcomes Management (QOM) team at Shepherd Center created the Quality Improvement Champion Program in FY23. Their goal? Empowering Shepherd Center staff at all levels to be quality and patient safety champions.
The Quality Improvement Champion Program, which has an application process open to all Shepherd employees, consists of Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Basic Certificate in Quality and Safety coursework, which is followed by a six-month hands-on, innovative application of skills, tools, and concepts in each participant’s respective programs, thereby boosting Shepherd Center’s overall quality and safety.
The program’s inaugural class boasted 18 graduates and two emeritus champions in nursing, management, therapy, psychology, education, and other roles in the organization. These committed professionals took their learnings back to their home departments including the inpatient and outpatient programs, food and nutrition services, pharmacy, research, and information systems.
Champions completed 18 total projects, with some completing multiple initiatives and some efforts being shared across multiple champions. The projects ranged in impact from one shift on one unit to organization-wide improvements. Key metrics of the projects included defect reduction, improved safety, fall reduction, and increased accuracy of clinical documentation, among others.
The projected total cost savings from the projects was more than $41,000 in the first year. After a successful first year, Shepherd Center enthusiastically supported continuing the Quality Improvement Champion program.
“By creating new champions, we have empowered staff with the skills and concepts to help Shepherd Center to continue to improve,” says Anna Murdock, senior internal improvement consultant and Quality Improvement Champions Program co-lead. “These front-line champions can now both aid and lead improvement efforts while spreading the science of improvement amongst the various areas of the hospital.”
Shepherd Center provides world-class clinical care, research, and family support for people experiencing the most complex conditions, including spinal cord and brain injuries, multi-trauma, traumatic amputations, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and pain. An elite center recognized as both Spinal Cord Injury and Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News as one of the nation’s top hospitals for rehabilitation. Shepherd Center treats thousands of patients annually with unmatched expertise and unwavering compassion to help them begin again.