Posted by Sarah Myers on September 28, 2015
The days immediately following an ImproveCareNow Community Conference are always a bit of a let-down for me. After a frenzy of collaboration, learning, partnership, and celebration (not to mention the months of hard work leading up to it!), it just stops. There are many reflections and lessons that will be shared by me and others in the coming weeks (in the meantime, peruse the rich content on the #ICNCC15F twitter stream), but my thoughts--and hopes--for the community right now are quite simple as I enjoy a day of catching up and recharging.
Many of our nearly 300 clinician, parent, and patient partners left Chicago telling us that this was the best ImproveCareNow Community Conference ever. I'm always thrilled to hear that, as our whole team cares deeply about the experience that we all have when we're together twice a year. It's a bit like a family reunion. You live far from each other, you try to connect across the miles and stay in touch, but there is something special about spending real time together. Connecting and seeing one another as real people, instead of just names and e-mail addresses. So I promise that we'll keep trying to make the next conference the best ever.
But I'd also like to flip this around. When we all gather again in Dallas in the Spring, I plan to ask the community whether the last six months--the time since we last met in Chicago--was the best time of improvement, innovation, and partnership you've ever had back where you receive and provide care. Because the ideas, the examples, and the appeals to steal them all shamelessly this weekend need to be carried back with you. Help us make the "best Community Conference ever" matter not just for those who were there. Make it matter for every patient you touch...or all of the clinicians with whom you partner in your--or your child's--care.
I spoke about persistence, problem solving, and community as we opened the session. Be persistent. Use the quality improvement tools that Wallace Crandall reminded us are the foundation of our work. Take the lessons you heard from the Riley and Michigan teams about co-production and reach out to connect with a patient or parent who really wants to help you improve. Read the story of Ernest Lawrence that Peter Margolis shared and tell your patients about how the work you are doing is building on the same tradition of big science and innovation--solving really big problems that will matter to them. And build your local ImproveCareNow community by making that "hard ask," which you may have learned about during our discussions about the engagement campaign: Ask a parent if they will come and meet with your team next week to discuss their input on an upcoming QI project. Or ask your physician to see your pre-visit planning data next time you are in clinic so you can partner more closely in improving your care.
At each Community Conference, ImproveCareNow leaders and coaches talk less as you all share and teach more. But we want to hear from even more of you in Spring 2016. So here's my "hard ask" for you: Will you put a stake in the ground now and aim to stand in front of our community in Dallas and share how you made this the best ever six months of improvement, partnership, and innovation in your local ImproveCareNow community?
I wrapped up the Conference by reminding us all to keep doing those things that make us a community, things like telling stories, solving problems, learning together, and becoming even more connected to the smaller communities within ImproveCareNow. Keep doing those things, but as someone recently reminded me, be kind to yourself too. The community is only as strong and healthy as we are as individuals. So get some rest, get back into your daily routine, and reach out to thank someone who made an impact on you this weekend. Today, I'm resting up and cleaning up the (enormous!) mess in my office, but also taking the time to thank all 300 of you for the impact that you've had on me.