“The great obstacle to progress is not ignorance but the illusion of knowledge.”
Last week, our partners, the IHI, came to town to lead us through the Executive Quality Academy, the first of a suite of courses that will be offered to staff from this DHB and around the country to help build the capability and capacity to drive sustainable improvements in healthcare delivery. Over 50 people attended the three-day workshop at Ko Awatea, half of them funded by the NZ Commission for Quality and Safety in Healthcare.
The lead up to this caused me some anxiety and a few sleepless nights. Coming right on the back of the glorious opening of Ko Awatea and the first Asia Pacific Colloquium, my own energy levels were running low and I started to spin between abject neurosis and bullish confidence: Will people show up? Will it be any good? Why have we done all this in such a rush; this is NZ goddamit, they are Americans, we are different here. All that countered by this: these are professionals, they have facilitated this kind of workshop so successfully many times before in a number of countries; I know them; I know the IHI, I’ve been to visit them many times and taken two Ministers of Health there before; have faith I told myself.
Well silly me, wasting all that energy worrying. The IHI came through in spades making the most of this all too rare opportunity of getting the right people in the room at the same time to talk about things that really matter and most importantly, how to make them happen.
Clearly the EQA is the culmination of years of experience and a distillation of the knowledge and learning from many successful organisations, not just from healthcare. Its relevance and utility was immediately obvious.
The course was facilitated by an IHI faculty, their A Team in fact. Three teachers with vast experience, wisdom, insight, common sense and humour. They treated us to a series of detailed master classes in how organisations can successfully set system level aims and deliver results.
Much of the time, their teaching was more of a improvised performance, responding to questions with agility and skill, giving terrific real life stories to illustrate their points. This was pure class and that did not go unnoticed by those of us privileged to be there. I took great delight in watching and chatting with the new executive team from the Hutt Valley DHB, led by their CE, Graham Dyer. What perfect timing for them I thought and they soaked it up.
There will be two more offerings of the EQA, the next is scheduled for March 2012.
In October this year, an IHI faculty will lead two more courses: Improvement Science in Action and the Breakthrough Series Collaborative. Both of these are practical courses, which will run for 6 months with the course participants focussing their teaching and learning on specific improvement work. Together with the EQA, this suite of courses has the potential to rapidly improve our ability to effect change and measure our improvements within defined time periods.