I have been working with ImproveCareNow - a Network that uses Quality Improvement (QI) techniques to bring about improvements in the care and health of children and adolescents with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis -  for nearly 3.5 years. And, yet I have not had any formal QI training. That ends now, because I'm taking the Spring 2014 QI Fundamentals series.

QI Fundamentals is a series of seven, hour-long webinars lead by one of the Network's QI coaches and a project called an Applied Learning Opportunity (ALO). The curriculum has been designed for teams who have just joined the ImproveCareNow Network and new members of established teams. By the end of our six months together, a QI  Fundamentals class graduates with knowledge and understanding of basic QI skills and tools that ImproveCareNow uses to drive measurable improvements.

New teams are encouraged to focus their ALO on registration and data collection, which means many will choose a project that helps them identify IBD patients in a much broader patient population. This basic ability is so foundational to the QI work that each team will be doing in the future. Remission rate for IBD patients at each center, for instance, is calculated based on the total population of IBD patients - so dialing in a process for knowing all patients with IBD is critical so a team can accurately see how they are doing in terms of getting more patients into remission and keeping them there.

You're probably thinking to yourself, the number of patients with IBD (which we call a "denominator") must change over time as new patients are diagnosed and as others transition out of pediatric care. And you'd be right. But don't worry, the ICN data management team has got that covered. They request quarterly updates from all participating ImproveCareNow centers. So, I'd say it's pretty fundamental to know how to identify patients with IBD at your care center.

This begs another question. Since I'm not part of a team at a care center (read: I don't see patients), what will my ALO be? Well, I'm glad you asked. The answer is: you're looking at it. Yup, I'm focusing my ALO on LOOP. In fact, here is my aim:

Applied Learning Opportunity AIM for Sarah NocitoSo, I'm walking the walk - reading up on QI, planning and carrying out my own ALO, complete with aims and run charts and data oh my, and probably even presenting my results at the Fall 2014 ImproveCareNow Learning Session (which is September 4-6, if you're wondering).

Look for my next post after the second Fundamentals webinar on April 9th.

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