Cancer Communication Research Center

who's job is practice improvement?


Yesterday in a primary care clinic the challenge of quality improvement hit me square in the face.  The chief was interested in improving screening rates.  The nurse manager was interested in improved outcomes for patients.  The behavioral medicine specialist was intent on improving hand-offs and coordination.  And the research team had identified 7-8 ways to improve processes for one slice of daily patient diagnosis and routing.  But who's job was the subsequent implementation?  The researchers don't belong in the clinic; they're (sort of uninvited) guests.  The others all have very full jobs doing the work that could perhaps be made more efficient, effective, or caring.  The clinical staff want outside help in coordinating communication and changes in the EMR system with the IT department, but the research grant has ended.  So we offer to stay involved, coordinating things, trying to find answers from IT specialists, etc.  But that's not the traditional (nor even, sometimes, the allowed) research role.  Healthcare organizations like this one need a role defined as "Improvement Navigator" or some such title who can jump in and solve little and very important inter-departmental tasks and challenges; a solution-finder who can stitch together a new routing, specify a new workflow, get agreement from people in several units that ordinarily are doing their own things.  Anyone know of such roles in other healthcare systems? 

Jim Dearing
Director/PI, CCRC

Written by CCRC at 11:16




Latest Comments