Real-world Application of Knowledge and Evidence-based Practices
In Dr. Ming Tai-Seale’s course titled “Outcomes and Quality Improvement”, she and her students venture into the world of process improvement for healthcare organizations.
The purpose of this course is to acquaint students with the principles of quality assessment, health status measurement, and means to improve value in health care at both policy and operational levels.
Students engage in designing and conducting a small-scale quality improvement (QI) pilot project at a local health care organization. This fast and frugal quality improvement pilot project:
- Applies human-centered design principles.
- Demonstrates leadership skills for building partnerships.
- Practices plan-do-study-act (PDSA) quality improvement processes.
- Develops strategies to motivate others for collaborative problem solving, decision-making, and evaluation.
- Demonstrates team building, negotiation, and conflict management skills.
In the past, students have done projects for UC San Diego Health Population Health Services Organization, the UCSD Moores Cancer Center, and at UCSD Student Health. Some project titles include:
– “Self-Management Support for Patients with Hypertension”
– “Enhanced Recovery After Surgery: Order Sets as an Improvement Tool”
– “Student Access to Telehealth Resources: Improving Convenient Access to Appropriate Care”
In a recent project, alumnus Vishaka Shivaram worked with other students to explore process improvement at UCSD Health Services. We interviewed her to learn more about her experience.
Purpose: The goal of this project was to assess the acceptability for Medically Tailored Meals and the health status among UCSD Health patients with Heart Failure. The broader objectives of this project encompassed to add more value to patient care and reduce the re-admission rates.
1) What did you need to do in order to complete the project?
The project was challenging and came with many deliverables. First, I had to coordinate with the key stakeholders of UCSD Health and understand the project requirements. This was followed by formulating and executing a Plan Do Study Act (PDSA). The study also involved conducting patient interviews for data collection, followed by data analysis and reporting. Lastly, I developed an A-3 for the project and presented it to the key stakeholders.
2) What were some of the most important considerations to keep in mind while you were working?
The project was highly engaging. The most important consideration was when I had to interact and interview patients, whose age was between 70 and 90 years. Since this was a new experience for me, I had to develop a rapport and establish trust with them. This helped me carry out the interview process smoothly. The project involved lots of meetings, communication, and coordination with the stakeholders of UCSD Health. I had to ensure they were constantly updated with the progress of the project and that their expectations were fulfilled.
3) How did you apply skills or concepts that you learned in class?
The courses and the mentorship that I received from the professors at LHCO helped me to complete this innovative project. Crucial skills such as Gemba, PDSA, project management, negotiation, and leadership supported me in achieving qualitative and quantitative results. For instance, during the Quality Improvement class, we learned about PDSA and the processes involved. I implemented these concepts during the project, which assisted me to construct a framework and execute the project efficiently.
4) What were your findings and recommendations?
The findings of my project were interesting. Empirical studies had observed that many patients positively accepted medically tailored meals. However, in this project, I found that not all patients preferred medically tailored meals, and certain criteria such as affordability, tailored diet plan, and food choice also influenced the patient’s acceptability. As this project was a pilot study that provided credible results, the recommendations were to proceed with the subsequent phase of the research project.
5) How do you plan to use what you learned in the future?
This one of a kind opportunity provided me with hands-on training and introduced me to emerging topics such as value-based care, population health management, and readmission rate reduction. In the future, my goal is to take up senior leadership positions, and I am confident that the learnings that I gained through the project will support my efforts to become a better leader.
For more information about the innovative work that our students and faculty do, please reach out to us at lhco.ucsd.edu.