QI Portfolio Recognizes Excellence

reprinted from Issue 20, Spring 2015 of Frontiers of Medicine (PDF)

Niraj Sehgal, MD, MPH

"As a faculty member, when you apply for a promotion, it's an opportunity to reflect on your career," says Niraj Sehgal, MD, MPH, associate chair for quality improvement and patient safety. "What is the work that is important to you? What impact are you making?"

In addition to leading groundbreaking work in clinical care, research and education, many UCSF Department of Medicine faculty members are improving the quality and safety of patient care. To help recognize these efforts, the Department introduced a new Systems Innovation, Quality Improvement, and Patient Safety Portfolio (the "QI Portfolio"). Modeled on the Educator's Portfolio, which UCSF has used for years to help faculty showcase accomplishments in teaching, mentorship and the scholarship of learning, the completed QI Portfolio can be uploaded as part of a faculty member's promotions packet, and is reviewed by the Department's promotions committee.

For example, a faculty member who spent many hours working to reduce preventable hospital readmissions might previously have those efforts buried on their curriculum vitae, reduced to a one-line citation stating, "Member, Readmission Task Force." The QI Portfolio provides a more detailed description, including that the faculty member led analysis of UCSF's hospital readmission rates, developed improvement strategies, and created a multidisciplinary team to implement those approaches. There is also room to note presentations of QI work at conferences, and concrete results of QI efforts.

In the first two years since its adoption, almost 70 faculty members have completed the QI Portfolio. "Quality improvement and patient safety are a big part of what we do as a Department, and are a major component of our training programs," says Sehgal. "As a Department, we value people who are committed to this work. The QI Portfolio is simply another instrument that further allows people to capture that work as part of their advancement process."

The Department of Medicine is the first within the UCSF School of Medicine to adopt the QI Portfolio, and is one of just a handful of departments nationwide to incorporate this as part of the promotions process. Sehgal and his colleagues are conducting a formal analysis of who completes the QI Portfolio, what motivates them to do so, and their career trajectories, which they plan to publish in the near future.

"Of the phone calls I get from colleagues around the country, the implementation of the QI Portfolio is among the most frequent questions," says Sehgal. "As academic medical centers, we need to devise solutions to improve care within our own clinical enterprises, and develop and disseminate models that work. One of the best ways to do that is ensuring that our Department recognizes and rewards people who are committed to making the system work better."

For more information, please visit the QIPortfolio.

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