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19th - Jan

Second round of CQIP: More Sask. physicians, clinicians receive quality improvement training

The first round of the 10-month Clinical Quality Improvement Program (CQIP) was an eye-opener for Dr. Erin Hamilton.

A family physician in North Battleford, Dr. Hamilton is helping to coach a two-person team in the second wave of the program, which began January 19. The 22 participants in the second wave have begun the process of learning how to improve the quality of care they deliver as part of CQIP, a training program developed and hosted by the province’s Health Quality Council (HQC).

Dr. Hamilton says the first round of CQIP helped her see that no matter how well physicians work individually with patients, patients still may not receive the best possible care if the system doesn't work well.

“Clinicians are in a great position to see this and to affect change,” Dr. Hamilton told the HQC. “We learned that the things we do with patients every day – ask lots of questions and run a few tests to clarify the problem, come up with a plan to correct the problem and monitor how the treatment is working – these are essentially the same steps we can apply to bigger problems.”

CQIP teaches physicians and health providers how to build quality improvement into their daily practice, and to teach quality improvement to others. It is funded through a partnership between the Ministry of Health and the Saskatchewan Medical Association.

Each participant carries out an improvement project in his or her work setting. Dr. Hamilton’s project focused on increasing opportunities for HIV testing in the Battlefords.

“We have great treatments for HIV now but the first step to getting treatment is getting tested and there are currently some barriers to that,” said Dr. Hamilton.

HQC received 38 applications for the second round, double the number for the inaugural session. Participants are selected based on prior experience with quality improvement, support from their home organization for their improvement project and the extent to which that project aligns with health system priorities.

Dr. Kevin Wasko, an emergency room physician in Swift Current and physician executive of integrated rural health with the new Saskatchewan Health Authority, is participating in the current round. He says one of the big benefits is that the skills he’s learning can be applied from the bedside to the boardroom.

“I am excited to gain the necessary skills to lead quality improvement initiatives that will improve the care of my patients and the system more broadly,” Dr. Wasko told the HQC.

“As an emergency physician, my colleagues and I provide line care and face issues of access to care and ensuring that care is appropriate. These concerns are no different at the macro level as we navigate a new health-care system in a single health authority.”

Dr. Wasko’s improvement project will focus on creating a more seniors-friendly emergency department in Swift Current.

Dr. Rabia Shahid of Saskatoon graduated from the first round of CQIP and is serving as a coach for the second group. She says the learning program has given her the knowledge, tools, and skills to implement improvements.

“Making a change in a complex system like health care can be difficult,” said Dr. Shahid. “Now, I know that it is possible."

Photos from first round of CQIP courtesy of HQC.

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