UW News

March 30, 2011

UWs Institute for Healthcare Improvement Open School examines quality and safety issues

UW Health Sciences/UW Medicine

Institute for Healthcare Improvement Open School

Many UW health sciences students are eager to make a difference in how health care is delivered. As they plan their careers, they look to a future of high-quality care for all patients.

More than 70 health professional students and their faculty advisors are members of the new UW Chapter of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement Open School.  The students and faculty in the IHI Open School come from all of the UW health sciences schools and professional training programs. They have a strong interest in all-health professions teamwork as a way of fostering excellence in patient care .

“We discuss interprofessional competencies and quality improvement opportunities,” said Dr. Brenda Zierler, associate profession of biobehavioral nursing and health systems in the UW School of Nursing. “The students learn about each others professions through role clarification.”

The student organization started in 2010. One of their first programs was a panel discussion with John Nance, author of Why Hospitals Should Fly.

Student members of the UW Open School chapter also worked with faculty from the UW School of Pharmacy to enter a national competition called Project Challenge. They won a $10,000 award for studying the impact of collaborative care for patients with diabetes at Harborview Medical Centers community clinics. They measured the effects of this teamwork approach on patient outcomes and safety.

The Open School and the Center for Health Science Interprofessional Education, Research and Practice will co-host an April 22 morning lecture and discussion on “The Pursuit of Perfection: The Virginia Mason Story. The speakers will be Charleen Tachibana, senior vice president and hospital administrator, Virginia Mason Medical Center, and Gary S. Kaplan, chair and CEO, Virginia Mason. The program is open to faculty, students and staff interested in high-functioning teams and patient safety.

For more information on the IHI Open School and its upcoming programs, please visit their website.