Medical staff in meeting

Change is a process. Those who manage change that leads to quality improvement have mastered the steps and embraced the tools to identify and address obstacles and challenges effectively. Healthcare is one of many industries requiring continual quality improvement efforts and ongoing change management.

Encouraging implementation of quality improvement processes in health systems is one of the strategies identified in the 2017-2021 Strategic Plan for the South Dakota Cardiovascular Collaborative (SDCC), whose purpose is to improve the quality of life of South Dakotans through prevention and control of heart disease and stroke.

To determine the status of quality improvement in the state’s healthcare landscape, the SDCC conducted a brief assessment which revealed a lack of dedicated quality improvement staff in many healthcare facilities. Administrators, providers, nurses and various other healthcare professionals, especially in rural and frontier areas, were often tasked with quality improvement on top of existing workloads and patient care obligations.

“Many folks lack the training or experience in quality improvement and felt they needed more educational resources, even just the basics, to help them navigate the process,” explained Rachel Sehr, BSN, RN, SDCC co-chair and coordinator for the Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program for the Office of Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion within the South Dakota Department of Health (SDDOH). “Quality improvement feeds into all aspects of healthcare and impacts every healthcare professional and patient regardless of age or health condition.”

In an effort to advance and equip more healthcare professionals for quality improvement, the SDCC decided to create a toolkit to provide basic information, resources and case studies. The Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program is offering a corresponding four-part webinar series, which will focus on increasing understanding of the quality improvement process and how it relates to reimbursements while also showcasing successful quality improvement initiatives implemented in South Dakota facilities.

1. The Value Case for Initiating Quality Improvement – Tuesday, February 19
2. Telling the Quality Improvement Story – Tuesday, March 19
3. Implementing Quality Improvement in Rural Areas – April date to be determined
4. Introducing the Quality Improvement Toolkit – May date to be determined

Sehr expanded, “The goals of the Heart Disease and Stroke Program tie in very closely with this work. Providing a webinar series to supplement the information included in the toolkit will serve as an additional learning method and provide an excellent platform for asking questions and producing meaningful conversation with other professionals across the state. Beyond offering good quality improvement resources, the goal is also to energize individuals to begin efforts or continue implementing or enhancing quality improvement initiatives in their organization.”

The Great Plains QIN is a member of the SDCC and provides quality improvement assistance and resources for a broad range of health care initiatives including cardiac health to healthcare facilities and providers across a four-state region. For more information on the SDCC, please contact Rachel Sehr at 605-367-5356.