The Association of American Medical Colleges is launching a one-year pilot initiative designed to help academic medical centers achieve systemwide and patient-centered quality goals by integrating and aligning existing programs related toand staff development, quality and performance improvement, quality reporting, continuing medical education, and organizational development. The idea, says Nancy Davis, PhD, who, in addition to being the founder and executive director of the National Institute for Quality Improvement and Education, is spearheading the AAMC initiative, is to develop “a matrix across all these areas that will allow the quality data to inform the CME program, so the CME program can be used as an intervention that will improve the organization’s quality priorities.
“I envision it as being very process-oriented,” she adds. “We help them redesign their infrastructure, especially their CME office, so that, for example, grand rounds would be based on specific quality indicators from either the hospital or the faculty practice plan. It would provide interventions designed for improvement, and provide the opportunity to later remeasure and reanalyze the data to see if there actually had been an improvement, rather than grand rounds just consisting of talking-head updates that have nothing to do with the institution’s actual needs as identified by data.”
The goal, Davis says, is to get onboard at least six academic medical centers that recognize a need for change and have the support of their leadership. The first to sign up was the University of Kansas Medical Center, which is interested specifically in venous thromboembolism prevention. While concentrating just on VTE prevention does narrow the scope of the initiative, Davis says that it meets the criteria of being a quality priority of the organization that everyone has bought into, and it will provide actual clinical outcomes that can be used to gauge how the process is working—a key aspect of the pilot program.
The process includes a readiness-assessment survey and an initial meeting of all AMC stakeholders to discuss the project, establish outcome goals, and develop a timeline. The first conference call with KUMC, for example, included the organization’s associate dean for CE, chief operating officer, chief medical officer, the associate dean for clinical affairs, and the associate dean for academic affairs, “so we’re really looking at the issues from all angles of the medical center,” says Davis.
In addition to on-site mentoring and support by Davis and Dave Davis, MD, AAMC’s senior director, continuing education and performance improvement, the initiative also involves developing a dedicated Web site to disseminate resources, such as short podcasts on, say, how to do performance-based grand rounds, that the team develops as the project unfolds. “We’re building the Web site to be a resource for integrating quality into CME, though we can see it expanding to graduate and undergraduate medical education as well,” says NIQIE’s Davis. “We’re documenting everything, and we’ll be sharing our findings as we go.” The site also will link to AAMC’s MedEdPortal to enable faculty to easily access the materials.
The AAMC has committed to fully funding the initiative for one year. It remains to be seen where it will go after that, though Nancy Davis says they are considering pursuing foundation grants to expand the initiative beyond its initial pilot phase. “This is NIQIE’s mission, so we’re happy to have a laboratory in these academic medical centers to operationalize a lot of the things we have been talking about.”
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