Erica Battram is the Change Manager for the Saegis Safety Institute. A registered nurse with over two decades of clinical experience, she holds a Master of Health Services Management and a certification in Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.
What is quality improvement? And what is Change and Quality?
Quality improvement is the continuous effort of all stakeholders in health care to make changes that lead to better outcomes, system performance, and professional development. Change and Quality is a course offered by Saegis, a subsidiary of the CMPA, that helps all healthcare professionals (not just those with a background in process improvement) upskill their quality improvement knowledge as they work through a real project. The course covers how to analyze the root cause of a problem or challenge, how to measure progress, and keys to implementing change and strategies to sustain improvements. The accredited course combines e-learning with practical activities and coaching support. While other training focuses solely on the technical aspects of quality improvement, the Saegis course also prepares and supports individuals, teams and organizations to build an environment where change is supported and sustained.
How is Change and Quality relevant to healthcare professionals right now?
The pandemic has increased the urgency for our health care systems to continually adapt in Canada. The pandemic has increased the urgency for our health care systems to continually adapt in Canada. Colleges are now looking at quality improvement as a continuing registration competency and a few mandatory requirements are emerging specifically around quality improvement. Most healthcare teams don’t have dedicated quality improvement support and we know that the healthcare sector is under great pressure right now to address a backlog of patient care. Our Change and Quality course gives participants the hands-on, practical support they need to manage their projects and implement urgently needed change.
What is the most important learning that you see participants take back to their teams and projects?
Quality improvement can be a daunting task for a busy healthcare professional. The most important thing that we see our participants take back to their work is greater confidence in their quality improvement skills. Students learn synchronously, as well as through individualized coaching and feedback. This gives participants the up-to-date knowledge and the support they need to effectively define and measure the success of their project and, consequently, to sustain the improvements. They not only get to work on their own project right now, but they build the skills they need to apply to future change and quality projects. We’ve had family physicians, for example, tell us that the modules are excellent because they are very applicable to the work that they are currently doing. Participants have worked on a variety of projects designed to improve access, increase efficiencies, clarify policies and improve patient care. Examples include:
- The development of a video about how to manage uncomplicated hand injuries
- A project to decrease wait times for complex immune patients
- An initiative to increase a clinic’s capacity to see Type II diabetes in children
- An effort to improve access to medical subspecialists while in hospital
How does someone who doesn’t have much experience with quality improvement benefit from this course?
Course participants range from specialists to primary care professionals to department lead positions. Some are taking the course for college requirements, some for support on a specific project and others to expand their general knowledge and skillset. In every case, because this course is designed specifically for novice to intermediate learners in quality improvement, participants benefit from developing a step-by-step roadmap that draws from different quality improvement methodologies. After the course, participants can join a Community of Practice that fosters a culture of continuing quality by connecting like-minded individuals and offers ongoing support and collaboration through sharing and networking.
Have a quality improvement project you’d like support on? Sign up for our next Change and Quality course.