Feb 252014

Marc Franklin reflects on the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s National Forum in Florida, and thinks about some of the lessons he left with.

Joshua Kovoor, Dr Andy Carson-Stevens, Marc Franklin, Don Berwick, Gney Mehta, Amy Butlin, Hope Ward, and Beth McIldowie at the IHI Open School Congress

Above: Joshua Kovoor, Dr Andy Carson-Stevens, Marc Franklin, Don Berwick, Gney Mehta, Amy Butlin, Hope Ward, and Beth McIldowie at the IHI Open School Congress

Just before Christmas, along with  five other members of the 1000 Lives Student and Educator Community and the Cardiff Medics Student-Patient Chapter, I headed for Orlando, Florida to attend the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s 25th Annual National Forum on Quality Improvement in Healthcare. We boarded the plane excited to join over 5000 other delegates, and join the discussion on patient safety and quality improvement.

We began by attending the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Open School Chapter Congress, along with many of the Forum’s other student delegates from universities around the world. Don Berwick (President Emeritus and Senior Fellow at the IHI), who led the Congress, emphasised the importance of students approaching healthcare systems with “fresh eyes”, and the significance of students’ position as the future of healthcare.

We were then set the modest task of saving the NHS £1 billion! We worked together to put forward a suggestion for quality improvement – our idea was  moving away from the use of non-essential sterile swabs when cannulating a patient, toward the use of cheaper, non-sterile swabs. This was an idea which had the potential to make real savings, and it shows that a small change has the possibility of making a big impact.

There was a packed agenda of sessions and keynote speeches, amongst various opportunities to network with other students.

A personal highlight was Maureen Bisognano’s keynote speech, with its focus on “flipping healthcare” and making care more patient-centred. Her use of examples from her own cases brought the ideas to life, and highlighted the importance of making care more patient-centred. I hope in the future I’ll be able to use the idea of flipping healthcare to make sure my patients feel in control of their own care. If you’re interested in hearing the talk, you can find it here.

I know from talking with Josh afterwards,  that he felt the keynote speeches have really given him the practical strategies to understand and engage with healthcare systems. And I know that Hope was impressed with Dr Mike Evans’ talk: “Let’s make our day harder”. Here’s his video, which was featured in the same keynote speech.

Other highlights for us included sessions on “Measuring Harm in the UK National Health Service”, which focused on the NHS Safety Thermometer, and “Learning From Mid Staffs and the Francis Inquiry: How Leaders Can Detect Problems at an Early Stage”. These sessions showed me the importance of incident reporting and analysis, which can drastically reduce levels of harm when properly implemented. It also highlighted the importance of abolishing the “fear and blame culture” which currently exists in the NHS.

The Storyboards presented by the students at the IHI Conference.

We also presented three storyboards at the Forum – a general Student Chapter update, a piece on “Ask One Question”, and a final piece on the work we’ve done with the Stroke Innovation Group. This was a great opportunity to share our work, and has led to the possibility of future collaborative work with other Forum attendees.

The Forum brings together people from all over the world, and gives them the chance to share their thoughts and opinions. It allows advances and innovations in healthcare to become truly international, with new ideas spreading and finding their way to new nations and healthcare systems, which, in turn, leads to real progress around the globe. I know I will be sharing the knowledge I gained with my peers here in Wales.

Any student who attends one of these conferences has an amazing opportunity to not only learn from world leaders in quality improvement, but also network with them. And with three healthcare students from Wales attending the IHI International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare in Paris in April, it’s clear that the future of healthcare improvement in Wales is looking strong.

Were you at the conference? What were your highlights? What lessons did you leave with?

Would you like to have gone? What lessons would you take with you to inspire others?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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