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The Ideas Behind IDEAS

Quality improvement (QI) work at its core is about change; it is also highly skilled work with requisite knowledge and skills.

This past Saturday I was very pleased to be teaching the capstone lecture for the first cohort in the province’s program called Improving & Driving Excellence Across Sectors (IDEAS). This Ministry funded program is a great partnership between seven Ontario universities, Health Quality Ontario (HQO), the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES), and the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation (IHPME) at the University of Toronto.

While the program is ‘made in Ontario’ it draws heavily for the core curriculum from the internationally recognized Advanced Training Program developed by Intermountain Healthcare in the US. It is a combination of classroom teaching and also an applied project supported with expert coaching support. The core foci of the program are the inter-related areas of QI, leadership and change management. More about the program can be found here.

To be clear, there are many great programs in Ontario and beyond that also provide QI training. I have personally benefitted from the program offered through the University of Toronto Department of Family and Community Medicine. Similarly there are numerous programs that focus on aspects of the IDEAS program (such as leadership).

However one of the opportunities of IDEAS as a broad provincial program is to help catalyze a discussion around a core competency model. We have already started to help other QI programs to adopt core elements of the IDEAS curriculum so that those at the front lines and in management are coming to the “QI table” with similar knowledge, skills and language.

As with any important undertaking, we need to be prepared. One of the greatest risks to the success of the quality agenda is convincing people of the importance of continually improving the system but then not preparing them to succeed. IDEAS is one of the innovative ways we are building capacity for those driving change through improving the quality of care.

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