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Quality Update - Speeding the Spread

Fall 2009

Speeding the Spread

By: Richard Davis
Date: October 15, 2009

The Center for Innovation's executive director introduces an effort to move patient care advances into the mainstream more quickly.

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For some health care professionals, it can feel like our field is moving at warp speed. New drugs, devices and treatments are constantly changing the delivery of care.

From another perspective, change moves at a painfully slow pace. Studies have found that it can take up to 15 years for best-practice treatments to make the journey from published research evidence to widespread adoption by providers. The challenge of sifting through so many scholarly articles, the change-averse culture of health care, and the difficulty of testing and adopting new practices all contribute to the lag.

Quality improvement efforts also suffer from such delays. But I’m optimistic that a new multihospital consortium organized by Johns Hopkins Medicine can speed up the testing and translation of these strategies.

The Quality Leadership Network, launched in fall 2008, is a group of chief patient safety and quality officers, executives and other administrators from 10 leading health care organizations who want to remove the barriers that prevent good ideas from spreading.

The network, sponsored by the Center for Innovation in Quality Patient Care, will provide a forum for these organizations to share the cutting-edge, innovative things that they’re doing to improve patient safety and deliver more effective, efficient care.

Each year the group will select two or three interventions for all of the member organizations to pilot at the same time. It might be a tool to improve handoffs, an intervention for reducing infections, or a strategy to improve medication reconciliation. If the intervention works, the impact will be even greater and we will have confidence that it can be applied more broadly.

Finally, the network will share its experiences with the larger health care community, hopefully to spark the adoption of proven successes on a widespread basis.

The spirit behind the network—which we plan to grow in membership in the future—is much like the idea driving this newsletter. We publish Quality Update to share with you what’s worked at Johns Hopkins (and elsewhere) in the hopes that you will find strategies that would apply to your workplace. Whether you’re interested in better tracking reports of adverse events, reducing waste and inefficiencies in health care delivery, or improving hand-hygiene compliance, we hope you’ll find something in this issue that inspires you.

 And we hope you’ll also let us know what’s working at your organization. Send us an e-mail at