Sharing successes, honoring legacies: Wrapping up Quality Month 2020

October 29, 2020  //  FOUND IN: Strategy & Leadership,

The format of this year’s Quality Month celebration may have looked different but one thing stayed the same — the enthusiasm of faculty and staff participating and sharing their quality and safety improvement stories.

As Quality Month wraps up, here’s a look back at some of the highlights.

Meeting the challenge

Despite the virtual format, this year’s celebration still featured the traditional poster session. In fact, there were four individual virtual poster sessions spread throughout the month. Nearly 80 teams from across the organization, including several teams from affiliate organizations Metro Health and MidMichigan Health, submitted their work as part of the annual poster sharing event. 

“We have all been faced with a challenging situation this year,” said Steven J. Bernstein, M.D., M.P.H., chief quality officer for Michigan Medicine, during the final poster session. “But from what we have seen by the 78 posters that were submitted, you didn’t drop the ball. You kept pushing forward on quality and safety this year and I couldn’t be more proud of all of you.”

Although the event could not be held in-person due to COVID-19 restrictions, the virtual sessions gave teams an opportunity to share their work with colleagues, answer questions and share their successes. All of these projects led to improvements tied directly to patient care, or improvements in systems or processes that helped their colleagues do their job more effectively.

“These posters reflect the diversity of the projects you all engage in,” said Bernstein. “Your work has improved the quality and safety of care our patients receive, staff satisfaction and monetary return. It is great work and I know you will continue moving forward with it.” 

All posters are available for viewing on the Quality Month website, and several poster teams will be featured in Headlines throughout the year — so keep an eye out for more stories in the next several months.

Exploring health equity

The overall theme for this year’s events was health equity and social determinants of health. Keynotes and plenary sessions throughout the month highlighted this theme and featured experts from across Michigan Medicine as well as from outside organizations.

Jennifer J. Griggs, M.D., M.P.H., a professor in the Department of Medicine and professor in the Department of Health Management and Policy in the U-M School of Public Health, kicked off the month with her presentation, “People, Communities, Quality: Social Determinants of Health and Health Equity.” Her discussion focused on the important role that socioeconomic status, race and other social factors play in a person’s overall health.

Other speakers throughout the month included Alfreda Rooks, M.P.A., director of Community Health Services for Michigan Medicine, whose talk focused on how the health system can bridge the gap between external factors, such as poverty and disparities, and the care that patients receive within the system. Adenike Griffin, M.S., LMSW, behavioral health manager at the Corner Health Care Center, also focused on addressing external determinants of health in Washtenaw County.

The final plenary session featured a panel discussion on the impact of race on health, and Jessie Kimbrough Marshall, M.D., M.P.H., clinical assistant professor of internal medicine at Michigan Medicine, highlighted the impact that COVID-19 has had on health disparities.  

Myers earns distinction

A new component of this year’s celebration was the announcement of the inaugural winner of the Jack Billi Award for Inspiring Quality Improvement.

The award is named for Jack Billi, M.D., a longtime U-M physician and faculty member who has had a tremendous impact on quality improvement work in the organization. It was established to recognize someone who exhibits the passion for quality improvement that Billi inspired.

This year’s winner of the newly-created award is Jeffrey L. Myers, M.D., the vice chair of clinical affairs and quality for the Michigan Medicine Department of Pathology.

He was selected for the award for exemplifying the behaviors of an effective improvement leader, including utilizing LEAN tools in his daily work. According to the nomination form, Myers “is a GEMBA guy and loves to ‘go see’ rather than discuss anything in a conference room.”

Myers was also instrumental in implementing quality assurance meetings in pathology, where faculty and staff can showcase their projects or opportunities for improvement. Many of the improvement projects that stemmed from these meetings have been showcased at Quality Month over the years, and led to significant improvements that have had an impact on patient care and improved service delivery for the department’s clinical colleagues.   

Myers was announced as the winner during the month’s final poster session on Oct. 28. If you would like to view the celebration, a recording can be found on the Quality Month website. All sessions throughout the month were recorded and are available using the link to the website.  

Although this year’s events just ended, the planning committee is already hard at work putting together the agenda for next year’s symposium. Stay tuned to Headlines for more information — and thank you to all the faculty and staff who made this year’s Quality Month event a “virtual” success!