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Call for abstracts: share your learnings with the world on CQUIPS+

The quality improvement and patient safety (QIPS) community will soon have a new virtual platform to share their work – CQUIPS+. The online hub is launching in April as a way to connect QIPS professionals and researchers.

“COVID-19 changed a lot for us in the clinical community but it made it all the more important that we keep sharing our research and findings – both about COVID-19 and all other QIPS projects,” said Dr. Brian Wong, C-QuIPS Director. “C-QuIPS couldn’t host our physical symposium last year where we would normally have a poster presentation, so we thought, let’s bring it online and make it easier for anyone – not just in Toronto – to share their work.”

C-QuIPS just announced a call for abstracts – submissions are encouraged to focus on either a QIPS project that demonstrates results and/or lessons learned, or QIPS-focused research. The posters will be available on the CQUIPS+ platform in May and, because of the virtual format, will be visible to a much broader audience than a traditional in-person symposium. In addition to viewing posters, visitors will be able to contribute to conversations about the projects, connect with presenters and watch videos of the presenters themselves talking about their work.

CQUIPS+ members will also have access to an ongoing speaker series, a discounted rate for QIPS workshops and masterclasses and the ability to connect and network with QIPS peers.

“CQUIPS+ is a meeting and collaboration space,” said Dr. Wong. “Members can create their own profiles and find others working on similar projects or who have similar interests. We know that quality improvement and patient safety are critical to our health care system becoming more resilient and more equitable and we want this platform to be one of the building blocks to support that happening.”

The deadline for abstract submissions is March 21, 2021. See full submission guidelines on our website and submit your abstract here.

Amber Daugherty is C-QuIPS’ new Communications Specialist

Amber Daugherty believes quality improvement is underrated.

“Most people who go to the hospital have no concept of the incredible amount of work happening behind the scenes,” she said. “Every step of a patient’s journey has been thought out – and it’s continuously being modified; healthcare providers are always thinking critically about how to keep everyone safer and make care more efficient so patients can get home sooner.”

Daugherty’s appreciation for quality improvement came from her role as Senior Communications Advisor, Quality at Unity Health Toronto. Working with everyone from frontline healthcare providers to vice presidents, she saw firsthand – and wrote about – the number of initiatives being trialed and implemented, from new safety reporting systems, to programs designed to reduce patient falls, to LEAN exercises in emergency departments.

That’s why she was so excited to take on a new role as Communications Specialist with the Centre for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety (C-QuIPS).

“Amber joined our team in the midst of a global pandemic and was immediately tasked with overseeing the communication of our Centre’s renewed strategic vision and plan.” said Dr. Brian Wong, C-QuIPS Director. “She brings an energy and expertise to our team that allows us to grow our community and elevates our ability at C-QuIPS to broadly share what we learn.”

Before working at Unity Health Toronto, Daugherty was in the journalism world, working as a reporter and editor for the Globe and Mail and a chase produce for CTV News Channel.

“I love telling stories about the people behind initiatives,” she said. “From the nurse who reports an unsafe practice they notice so it can be changed, to the simulation team who runs a scenario 20 times to figure out how they can deliver urgent care just a few seconds faster, there are endless examples of the significant impact healthcare providers have every day.”

In her role at C-QuIPS, Daugherty is focusing on both highlighting the people at the centre of QIPS work, and sharing the research and findings about best practices in the field that can be adapted by other organizations.

As she gets started, Daugherty has an ask of the QIPS community.

Send me your story ideas. Let me know the exciting projects, research and ideas you have so C-QuIPS can amplify your work,” she said. “Healthcare gets better and safer every day because of professionals who care deeply about making the system more equitable, better and safer – so let us recognize your efforts and help share them.”

Equipping clinicians for academic success in quality improvement

Any clinician can tell you that a knowledge of basic quality improvement (QI) principles does not guarantee successful QI projects; many QI attempts result in learnings rather than lasting change. Graduates of the Centre for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety (C-QuIPS) Excellence in Quality Improvement Certificate Program (EQUIP), however, will tell you that the year-long mentorship and education program will significantly increase the likelihood of those projects succeeding – and results being published.

“In the program, we learned how to write a good QI paper, what QI editors are looking for and how to structure a project so it can be written about and shared,” said Dr. Anne Smeraglio, a 2020 EQUIP graduate and hospitalist at the Portland Oregon VA Health Care System. “And since graduating, those lessons have helped me get published.”

Knowledge gained in the program also helped Dr. Smeraglio advance to more senior roles – she’s now the Director of Quality Improvement in the Oregon Health & Science University’s internal medicine residency program​ and was invited to teach as part of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s Program Director Patient Safety and Quality (PDPQ) Educators Network.

Dr. Smeraglio is not unique in this sense – many of the program’s more than 60 graduates to date from all across North America have found success in leading, teaching and publishing their QI work. Dr. Adina Weinerman, now one of EQUIP’s core faculty members, was in the program’s first cohort and said the program has had a significant impact on her career.

“EQUIP strengthened my quality improvement knowledge and made me more confident to lead and mentor quality improvement projects in an academic environment,” she said. “As a direct result of EQUIP, I am now the Medical Director, Quality and Patient Safety at my academic institution, and couldn’t be happier.”

EQUIP is delivered through six full days of virtual training (July 7-9, 2021 and May 9-11, 2022) and monthly webinars between. Over the course of the program, learners benefit from one-on-one coaching and mentorship from EQUIP faculty who are internationally recognized QI clinicians and experts. In addition to track records successfully executing QI projects in academic settings, faculty members have published their work in high-impact journals such as JAMA Internal Medicine¸ Academic Medicine and BMJ Quality & Safety.

“EQUIP is meant to provide a deeper dive into QI methodologies and help clinicians take their QI skills to the next level,” said Dr. Brian Wong, C-QuIPS Director and EQUIP Co-Director along with Dr. Kaveh Shojania. “We’ve been amazed in every cohort at the calibre of our learners – they all bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm for QI and we know they make an impact in the QI field after they leave.”

Dr. Benjamin Leis, a newly-appointed staff physician and assistant professor at the University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine, was a cardiology trainee when he took the EQUIP course.

“Through EQUIP, I was taught a systematic approach to quality improvement which is invaluable and has already led to two publications in the last year and a half,” he said. “You are more likely to be successful in QI with the foundations taught in the EQUIP program. You will also meet wonderful people and mentors who will share your enthusiasm and be very useful professional connections for the rest of your career.”

Spots are open for the program’s fifth cohort. Learn more and apply here.

Dr. Patricia Trbovich joins C-QuIPS as Research and Scholarship Lead

Patricia Trbovich has no interest in going backwards after the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As a quality improvement and patient safety community, we have a societal responsibility to craft what a ‘new normal’ will look like,” she said. “We don’t want to go back to the old normal which was to normalize inequity, exhaustion and burnout.”

Dr. Trbovich is uniquely positioned to help create a better system – with a background in cognitive psychology, her career has focused on understanding the motives behind people’s actions. Partnered with her research experience – including as current Badeau Family Research Chair in Patient Safety and Quality Improvement at North York General Hospital – she is able to make recommendations about how systemic changes can better shape workflows and, ultimately, healthcare.

And now, through her new role as Research and Scholarship Lead with the Centre for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety (C-QuIPS), she will have a platform to help share best practices – across professions, provinces and countries.

“I really focus on the word ‘across’ here because, as QIPS professionals, we do a lot of great work but sometimes it’s in silos,” she said. “I see one of my roles as ensuring there is cross learning and sharing and ensuring that we help people put the proper research lens on some of the great practical work they’re doing so they can bring it to the next level and we can either scale or spread the innovation if that’s the right thing to do.”

Dr. Trbovich’s path has crossed the Centre many times – in addition to formerly teaching in the C-QuIPS certificate course and VAQS program, she is an associate professor in the MSc Quality Improvement and Patient Safety program at the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto and has been mentored by senior Centre members Drs. Edward Etchells and Kaveh Shojania.

“Her history with C-QuIPS made her a perfect fit for this role,” said Dr. Brian Wong, C-QuIPS director. “We’re excited to have her expertise on board. She is a pre-eminent researcher in our field and the incredible amount of knowledge she brings with her in human factors and QIPS research will benefit everyone in the QIPS community.”

One of Dr. Trbovich’s first priorities will be to focus on C-QuIPS’ two key themes: health equity and health system resilience – and specifically how they connect.

“If you’re able to improve health equity and diversity, then you will in turn build a more resilient health care system – I see them as two sides of the same coin,” she said. “These two themes aren’t topics du jour that we’re going to work on for two years and then let them go and move on to something else; I see these as important areas of priority we have to include in the way we do our research so it just becomes part of our work.”

Meet Marie Pinard, C-QuIPS associate director for Women’s College Hospital

One of Marie Pinard’s top goals as the new associate director with the Centre for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety (C-QuIPS) for Women’s College Hospital is no secret: she wants to get more interprofessional health care leaders involved in quality improvement (QI) and patient safety. As a nurse by background, Pinard has spent her career engaged in quality improvement at SickKids and Women’s College Hospital, and now she’s helping inspire others.

“Quality and safety need leadership in both the academic and operational worlds so part of our work is helping create a bridge between the two,” she said. “When you have more interprofessional providers trained in QI, you get more of those critical QI skills into the front lines of the health system which leads to meaningful changes and safer care.”

Pinard has been affiliated with C-QuIPS for almost a decade, providing support as a mentor to students and an instructor for the Centre’s certificate course. When Women’s College became part of C-QuIPS earlier this year – joining established partners Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, The Hospital for Sick Children (‘SickKids’) and the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine – it was a natural fit for Pinard to take on the associate director role, said Dr. Brian Wong, C-QuIPS director.

“C-QuIPS is focused on accelerating and deepening the work of people and organizations that are passionate about enhancing quality and patient safety,” he said. “And Marie has been involved with this work for years – initially as a front-line nurse and then in a variety of hospital-based leadership roles. And it’s the wealth of experience that Marie has accrued over the years that we are so excited to draw upon as we attempt to better align the work we do with the organizations we partner with.”

Working at Women’s College where a significant focus is on ambulatory care, one of Pinard’s other goals is to expand the quality lens to capture areas beyond inpatient practice.

“C-QuIPS provides access to so much knowledge and expertise that we can leverage, and education programs that can help develop more health leaders,” she said. “I drank the Kool-Aid; QI has been my whole career and I’m so passionate about getting more people involved – I’m excited to help build our QI community by getting more of my colleagues at Women’s College involved in this important work.”

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