Celebrating Efforts to Improve Patient Care

reprinted from Issue 19, Fall 2014 of Frontiers of Medicine (PDF)

The UCSF Department of Medicine recently sponsored the fourth annual Quality and Safety Innovation Challenge, culminating in a symposium featuring posters from participating teams and a lively panel discussion about this year's theme: improving patient- centered care and the patient experience.

"In order for most health care delivery systems to be successful, they need to focus on the ‘triple aim': providing high- quality care, doing it in a cost-effective fashion, and providing a meaningful patient experience,"says Niraj Sehgal, MD, MPH, associate chair for quality improvement and patient safety.

The Department of Medicine is a national leader in the field of quality and safety, and the growing number of participants – 62 posters this year, compared to 24 the first year — reflects an increasing desire among trainees, faculty and staff to improve patient care and the health systems in which they work. The projects have also become more sophisticated, often including more data compared with previous years and incorporating multiple pillars of effective intervention design.

"Improving the quality and safety of care is like a four-legged stool,"says Sehgal. "We need complementary strategies that include educational interventions, audit and feedback mechanisms, consideration of system changes that can be put in place, and a focus on key cultural factors, such as local champions and an environment that is energized by change. In the past, projects might have touched on just one pillar, but now many of them touch on multiple ones, which is why they're becoming more impactful."

In addition, this year's projects reflected a broader emphasis on extending efforts to improve the quality of care in clinic settings, particularly specialty areas such as cardiology, rheumatology and hepatology.

This year's symposium drew more than 120 attendees, and featured a panel discussion about how to foster meaningful patient-centered care, with Catherine Lucey, MD, UCSF School of Medicine vice dean for education, Rita Redberg, MD, MSc, chief editor of JAMA Internal Medicine, and Christine Ritchie, MD, MSPH, Harris Fishbon Distinguished Professor in Clinical Translational Research and Aging.

The four award-winning projects from the 2013-14 Quality & Safety Innovation Challenge that were recognized at the symposium included:

San Francisco General Hospital: “Improve Early Access to Malaria Treatment and Primary Care in Mali”: Ari Johnson, MD; Ian Alley, MPH; Jessica Beckerman, MD; Ichiaka Kone, MD, MPH, MBA; Djoume Diakite, MD; Claire Horton, MD

Special Award for Patient Experience: “Transforming the Patient Experience – UCSF Medical Center Hepatology Practice”: Bilal Hameed, MD; Marion Peters, MD; Aleksandrina Eppel, MBA; and Hepatology clinic staff

San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center: “Interprofessional Development of an After Visit Summary in a Community-Based Outpatient Clinic to Improve Patient Satisfaction”: Chelsea Bowman, MD; Eugene Fan, MD; Joseph Hippensteel, MD; Anna Strewler, RN; Jonathan Van Nuys, NP; Daniel Wheeler, MD; Shalini Patel, MD; Meg Pearson, MD

UCSF Medical Center: “Structured Referrals and eConsults: Downstream Impact on Access, Utilization and Cost in a Fee-for-Service Setting”: Nathaniel Gleason, MD; Priya A. Prasad, MPH; Michael Wang, BS; Sara Ackerman, PhD; Jennifer Monacelli, BS; Chanda Ho, MD, MPH; Delthia McKinney, MPH; Ralph Gonzales, MD, MSPH

To view all the projects, please visit the Quality & Safety Symposium page.

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