Musings on personal and enterprise technology (of potential interest to professional technoids and others)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Well-done quality improvement is not punitive; it’s educational: Dr. Brent James, NYTimes 8Nov2009

Seems doctors may have some meaningful insights to share with IT executives and project managers, regarding effective management of a quality improvement initiative. A fascinating NYTimes article by David Leonhardt explains how Dr. Brent James is standardizing certain healthcare procedures, thereby significantly improving certain types of patient outcomes. Even straightforward checklists seem to help a lot. Leonhardt also provides the successful example of

"...the Pronovost checklist. As many as 28,000 people in this country die each year from infections that come from intravenous lines. Several years ago, Peter Pronovost, a Johns Hopkins physician, developed a simple list of five steps that intensive-care doctors should take before inserting an IV line, in order to prevent the introduction of bacteria. The checklist reduced the infection rate to essentially zero at 108 hospitals in Michigan where it was adopted. Pronovost published the results in The New England Journal of Medicine in 2006. But most intensive-care doctors are still not using the checklist. To insert an IV line, they continue to rely on their own judgment."

Also helpful and relevant for IT in my experience, is the statement by Dr. James that

"quality improvement is a process, not an event. In part it works by finding variation and drawing attention to it... And well-done quality improvement is not punitive; it’s educational."

Full article:
If Health Care Is Going to Change, Dr. Brent James's Ideas Will Change It -

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