Cooley Dickinson Staff Teach Course at Quality Conference

NASHVILLE — When the authors of a well-regarded industry guide to clinical Microsystems invited Carol Smith and Shannon Dillard to teach a day-long mini-course at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Leadership Forum, they jumped at the chance. Then they realized they had some work to do.

Smith, Cooley Dickinson Hospital’s chief operating officer and a registered nurse, and Dillard, a registered nurse, were asked to share how the hospital is using clinical Microsystems to improve how care is provided at CDH. Clinical Microsystems is an approach used in health care by which teams are empowered to make improvement decisions based on scientific data and best practices.

“The objective of the course was to give participants the tools they would need to implement clinical Microsystems techniques in their organization,” says Dillard, a member of the hospital’s Quality department. “Even though we had been using the clinical Microsystems approach for more than two years, we needed to revisit the path we had taken to get where we are today.”

Smith and Dillard, with input from colleagues representing a variety of departments, began to retrace Cooley Dickinson’s steps while developing a how-to-guide that could serve as a model for other hospitals.

Said Dillard, “the mini-course focused on how Cooley Dickinson Hospital created and discovered the will to improve as well as determining which methodology to use, implementing the clinical Microsystems methodology, and measuring success with the improvements. The culmination of the course demonstrated how the concepts merge to make sure everyone is involved in improving the care and services we provide.”

Currently, there are 16 Microsystems teams at CDH. Comprised of frontline staff and physicians, the Microsystems teams are empowered to make improvement decisions based on scientific data and best practices.

More than 65 people attended the mini-course as part of the 20th annual Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s National Leadership Forum. The meeting took place in mid-December in Nashville.

The presentation was based on principles from Quality by Design: A Clinical Microsystems Approach by Eugene C. Nelson, Marjorie M. Godfrey, and Paul B. Batalden, as well as the work of Cooley Dickinson’s clinical Microsystems team members.