As part of SSC’s strategy to support physician engagement, SSC is funding and partnering with each Health Authority to help build physician quality improvement (QI) expertise and leadership skills through the Regional QI Initiative. The Physician Quality and Regional Safety Team (PQRST) at Fraser Health (FH) was the first to get going in April 2015. More than a year later, the first PQRST cohort has completed an evaluation of their activities, gaining some impressive results and learnings.
The initiative includes meeting the IHI Triple Aim of improving patient quality of care, improving patient and provider experience, and reducing costs. PQRST’s first cohort had ten physicians who represented a variety of medical specialties. During one year, they attended thirteen learning sessions to build skills in quality improvement, leadership and change management. At the same time, physicians led their own QI projects. The main objective of the physician-led QI projects was to provide QI experience.
However, several PQRST’s projects exceeded expectations and achieved outcomes consistent with the IHI Triple Aim. For example, an effort to reduce the length of a patient’s stay when presenting with an acute ischaemic stroke or TIA resulted in improved patient flow through the Stroke Unit with a decrease in average length of stay from 20.2 to 6.9 days resulting in a reduction rate of 66%, and cost avoidance of about four million dollars based on days saved. A pathology laboratory project to decrease the defects on glass slides led to significantly decreased workload, human resource savings, and additional savings of material and storage costs. As a result, the laboratory found it had increased capacity to handle workload without additional staffing, overtime or delays in turnaround.
Overall, PQRST’s first cohort successfully improved physician engagement levels and increased physicians’ skills in QI, leadership and change management. A key success element was the wholehearted support of the FH executive team. Recently, a PQRST Steering Committee was established and next steps include developing a strategic plan to help guide the PQRST Steering Committee and expand the current work. If you’d like more information about the QI initiative and how to get involved in your health authority, please connect with Aman Hundal at firstname.lastname@example.org