[Image Source: The Institute for Healthcare Improvement website]
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the 25th Annual National Forum on Quality Improvement in Health Care hosted by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. I was honored to be selected to attend this event as a Patient Advocate. Over the course of three jam packed days, I learned a great deal about the importance of quality and saftey throughout the healthcare system and I met many new patient advocates, each with powerful stories.
The first event I attended was the Patient and Family Advisory dinner. At this event, I had the chance to hear e-Patient Dave deBronkart and Pat Mastors speak about building a patient advocacy speaker's profile. They both shared tips on building a strong foundation as a patient speaker and shared stories from their own careers on how they've become the top level speakers in the healthcare community. I also had the chance to meet many people from IHI, including Martha Hayward. She leads the Public and Patient Engagement initiatives at IHI. It's very clear that patients are at the center of IHI's focus and mission. I was really impressed at how many patients were represented throughout the event.
There were amazing keynotes and breakout sessions, but my favorite part of the forum was the booth in main hall labeled: "The Patient is in!" During the entire event, this booth was staffed by patient volunteers who were there to answer questions or talk through issues that forum attendees might be having back at their home hospitals or organizations. To me, this truly embodied the patient centered focus of the IHI. I've attended many healthcare conferences over the past years, but none where the patient perspective played such a visibile role. As a patient advocate, I found the event to be encouraging, inspiring, and energizing.
I also had the chance to learn more about the Partnership for Patients. IHI's work with the Partnership for Patients centers around 10 core patient safety areas of focus and include:
- Adverse Drug Events
- Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections
- Central Line Associated Blood Stream Infections
- Injuries from Falls and Immobility
- Obstetrical Adverse Events
- Pressure Ulcers
- Surgical Site Infections
- Venous Thromboembolism
- Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia
The IHI site lists many white papers and resources to explore these topics in more detail.
I feel I learned three valuable lessons attending this event:
1) Patient stories and experiences can help provide a unique perspective on the quality and safety initiatives for an organization. Don't discount the power of the patient experience.
2) IHI is committed to incorporating more patient experience in all facets of their work.
3) More patient advocates need to step forward and share their experiences, both good and bad, to help all healthcare organizations develop a true quality and safety mindset. Without patients, quality and safety initiatives will always fall short.
For me, the biggest lesson I learned attending this Forum is how dedicated IHI is to improving patient safety by including and acting on the patient perspective. I was honored to attend!