“Words of Wisdom” from a former QI project participant

For those seeking to join a QI project this year, here are key “words of wisdom” from Margaret Saari, Final Year Nursing Student:

When embarking on a quality improvement project with U of T’s IHI Open School chapter there are three key things to remember.

First off, what you put into the project is what you will get out of it. In my first experience on a quality improvement team, we had a very enthusiastic group of students who were really interested in making a difference. It was this dedication to the project that ultimately led to our successes.

Secondly, be flexible. The project we started working on was not the project we finished up! QI projects are situated in real life and therefore there are bumps in the road, which may shift the aim of your project as you discover new information. Just because you don’t end up making the exact change you started working towards, does not mean the project is a failure. You may have gained new knowledge about the problem or made other changes that will improve patient safety.

Finally, keep an open mind and think outside the box (or your professional shoes). Although QI projects are inter-professional, they are not about individual professional perspectives and who is “right” and who is “wrong”. Build up your teammates by playing up to everyone’s strengths and seeing them as unique individuals to collaborate with not as professions to work along side. Build relationships, build friendships and you will ultimately build a successful team environment.

Thank you Margaret, for sharing your experience!

Interested in practicing Margaret’s words of wisdom by joining a QI team?  Click here.

New Observership Opportunity!

Want to learn more about Quality Improvement? Want to get involved but just don’t know what you’re interested in?

Whether you’re new to quality improvement or you know all about it, here’s a great and exciting opportunity for you!

The Centre of Innovation for Complex Care (CICC) located at Toronto General Hospital (TGH) holds innovation rounds detailing each of their TWENTY quality improvement/patient safety projects currently underway. Come, listen and if you find something you’re interested in, you may be able to be apart of the project itself!


When? Every Tuesday from 12-1pm
Who? All University of Toronto IHI Members
What? Innovation rounds detailing each of the twenty projects underway at CICC
ONLY requirement: Sign up on the sign-up form off of the QI Observership page and you’re all ready to go!

See you there!

Complete Quality Improvement (QI) Project Details

Possibly interested in becoming involved in a QI project, but want to know before you make a decision?  Here is everything you will need to know:

1. What are QI Projects?

Quality Improvement (QI) projects exists to provide students with opportunities to be involved in improving patient care by materializing the concepts learned in the IHI Open School in a practical setting. By fostering interests and strengthening skills of Quality Improvement in students under the guidance of experienced and dedicated collaborators (Champions), we strive to motivate the students to take initiative in promoting and teaching QI in their future careers.

2. What is the structure of a QI project?

  • Each QI team consists of 3-4 students IHI members from different disciplines involved in health care: medicine, nursing, engineering, pharmacy, health administration, public health, etc;
  • 4-5 key projects will be provided to students involved in different health care settings (hospital, long term care facilities and family health team, etc.);
  • Each project will have a designated team leader, who will act as the client-facing representative; and
  • Each project will be led by the champion, who will act as a mentor in instilling the IHI quality improvement and patient safety principles.

3. What is the University of Toronto Chapter for Healthcare Improvement responsible for?

  • Facilitating communication between students and champions;
  • Designating project leader based on previous experiences with QI and project management;
  • Recording progress throughout via frequent email updates and meetings when necessary;
  • Addressing concerns and resolving difficulties that may arise throughout the duration of the project; and
  • Updating the website (http://www.ihitoronto.ca).

4. What are students responsible for?

  • Take initiative, be confident to act independently, and be a team player;
  • Devote a 6-7 month time commitment to the project (late Sep-March/April);
  • Begin completing IHI Open School Certification (free for UofT students);
  • Develop an initial team project charter that outlines team rules and requirements;
  • Develop a project that successfully implements IHI patient safety and quality improvement concepts in healthcare centres;
  • Define and complete mid-year targets (scope, implemented PDSA) and year-end targets (poster, grey/white paper); and
  • Maintain regular updates with QI project lead (1 week at the start of the projects, extending to 2-4 week towards the end of the projects) to address three key questions:
  • What have you done since the last update?
  • What are you planning to do next?
  • Are you experiencing any issues/difficulties?

5. What are champions responsible for?

  • Be committed to championing a project with a student team until completion;
  • Provide continual support to student teams;
    • Leading and developing the project with the student team, which includes addressing: scope, details, objectives, results with the student team;
    • Mentor the students in quality improvement concepts;
      • Support the students in helping them obtain resources (e.g. data, interviews, etc…);
      • Engage their team of clinicians and staff to support the student teams and the QI project, and;
      • Remain flexible and patient when working with the student teams

6. Who can I contact at the IHI for more information?

  • Jacqueline Chan (QI Team Lead): jacqueliner.chan@gmail.com
  • Beth Li (VP Practical Experience): beisi.li@utoronto.ca

7. Do I have to have my IHI certification prior to joining a QI team?

We require our students to, at least, start the courses.  We will help students finish the courses throughout the duration of the project.

Click here, to sign up today!

Join one of our three QI projects!

[The registration for these three QI projects is complete.  Thank you to all the interested participants.  Please check back soon for updates on these particular projects, and other new projects.]

Toronto Western Hospital

  • Major Intersection: Dundas & Bathurst
  • Unit: Family Health Unit
  • Possible project topics: 1) workflow, and process improvement of scheduling for clinic appointments, 2) improvements in space utilization, and 3) other project ideas (e.g., hand hygiene).

Meighen Manor Long-term Care Centre

  • Major Intersection: Yonge & Davisville
  • Possible project topics: 1) Falls Prevention Study and Statistical Analysis, 2) other project ideas (e.g., looking into the other significant LTC touch-points related to MOHLTC requirements)


  • Major Intersection: Dundas & University
  • Medical Areas: Pediatrics & Infectious Disease
  • Possible project topics: 1) Discrepancies of staff communication regarding patients with infectious diseases, and 2) other project ideas (e.g., hand hygiene).

The scope of these projects, along with their respective project topics are not comprehensive.  These project topics are just the ideas that are most closely associated with the organizations or units that are involved.  It it up to the students and champions to decide the project scope, topics, and deliverables.

Quality Congress for Leadership for Performance Excellence (Oct 5)

Quality Congress for Leadership for Performance Excellence – located at the Royal York Hotel; a senior executive audience with keynote speakers including Jim Easton from the UK talking about the UK plan to improve quality while pulling 15-20 billion pounds of savings from the healthcare system, our Ontario leaders talking about their experience in our leadership program moderated by Steven Lewis, and two speakers from the US talking about approaches to reducing serious safety events in organizations (one is consultant who has been very successful and the other is a physician and Chief Quality Officer with a large US health system). This event can accommodate 2-3 students. Interested students should contact Andrea Abraham at aabraham@changefoundation.com.

Health Service Research Seminar: Patient Safety in the OR

The first session in HPME’s  Health Service Research seminar
series  will be held on *Wednesday, September 15, 2010*.  The seminar will be held at the
*Health Sciences Building, Room 208 from 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.***

Dr. Lorelei Lingard with Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, University
of Western Ontario, will share with us insights from her research on team
communication and patient safety in her upcoming talk entitled “*Team Talk:
Conceptual and methodological insights from an intervention to improve
patient safety in the operating room.”  *See our website for additional
details http://www.hpme.utoronto.ca/about/events/hsrseminar1011.htm.

Integrated Client Care Learning Session

Hosted by the Center for Healthcare Quality Improvement on *Wednesday,  September 22*. Agenda includes a presentation by Lynn Maher from the UK on Experience Based Design, an approach to involving patients in redesigning their care, a presentation by Brian Golden from Rotman on leadership, and a workshop for improvement teams on sustainability; we can likely accommodate one student – if anyone is interested they can contact Andrea Abraham at aabraham@changefoundation.com (location is Sutton Place). Please visit http://www.chqi.ca/CurrentInitiatives.aspx for more information.