Improvement Leaders Program is Launched

Dr. Tom Ivester, Chief Medical Officer of UNC Medical Center, officially launched the Improvement Leaders Program on April 25, 2019 in Bondurant G-030. The Improvement Leaders Program is a new initiative at UNC designed to be an immersive learning experience focused on helping clinical leaders develop competencies in leadership and quality improvement.

Dr. Tom Ivester, Chief Medical Officer of UNC Medical Center, officially launched the Improvement Leaders Program on April 25, 2019 in Bondurant G-030. The Improvement Leaders Program is a new initiative at UNC designed to be an immersive learning experience focused on helping clinical leaders develop competencies in leadership and quality improvement. “This program is the culmination of many months of planning,” Dr. Ivester explained. “It is intended to be a transformative program to help our clinical leaders steer the UNC Medical Center through the changing health care environment.”

Dr. Matt Nielsen from Urology is championing the Improvement Leaders Program and, under his guidance, three pilot teams were identified to kick-off the program. These teams were selected based upon the strength of their teamwork and their experience in QI. Each team consists of a service line leader supported by a physician facilitator, PIPS coach, nurse manager and nurse facilitator. The physician facilitators include Dr. Carl Seashore from General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Dr. Mike Steiner from Pediatrics and Dr. Matt Nielsen. Erica Wolak, Senior Clinical Quality Management Engineer from Nursing Quality and Research, is a nurse facilitator. Erica stated that she is, “Looking forward to being a part of this interprofessional collaboration and seeing how the Improvement Leaders Program can further support all the important QI work already being done by the nurse managers and physician service leaders.”

Participants in the Improvement Leaders Program will develop competencies in the following areas:

  • Building, leading and managing teams

  • Designing, planning and implementing clinical improvement

  • Running Plan-Do-Study-Act cycles

  • Self-awareness as a leader

  • Communication

  • Collaboration

  • Handling conflict and contentious situations

  • Prioritizing projects

  • Preparing for sustainment 

There are 3 basic learning components to help teams learn and apply different skills aimed at leading quality improvement projects:

  • Quality tools applicable to each phase of the project

  • Completion of related Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) online modules

  • Mentoring sessions to assist in leadership development

Pilot participants will be active in helping to design the program. Matt Huemmer, IHQI Program Manager, elaborated, “We are very interested in evolving the program to make it effective for all participants, and encourage feedback throughout this pilot.” 

The development of the Improvement Leaders Program has been a collaborative effort, including participants from UNC Medical Center, UNC School of Medicine, Performance Improvement and Patient Safety (PIPS), Nursing Quality and Research (NQR) and the Institute for Healthcare Quality Improvement (IHQI). IHQI’s Improvement Scholars Program influenced the design of the Improvement Leaders Program. Dr. Ivester remarked, “A lot of weight is being put behind this program, with a lot of people invested in making sure this is successful.”

The goal of the pilot program is to enroll all physician and nursing service line leaders over a 3-year time period. For questions about the Improvement Leaders Program, please email IHQI Program Manager, Matt Huemmer.

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