QI Website for Residents Sparks New Discourse on Quality

By Scott Harris

Looking to improve quality at your institution, but don’t know where to start? It can be daunting, but it’s not just for Lean Six Sigma gurus anymore. A new website, QIGateway.org, is designed to be a launching pad for residents who want to learn from and share with quality-minded colleagues around the country.

“We wanted to provide a place that could be a starting point and a branching-out point,” said Sepideh Sedgh, DO, an internist at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY, and president of the Committee of Interns and Residents, a housestaff union representing 13,000 interns, residents, and fellows, and which started QI Gateway. “Residents really want to pay attention to quality improvement, and they want ideas on how to improve patient safety.”

The new site acts as a quality clearinghouse of sorts, offering an online database of research reports, case studies, and forums where residents can exchange findings, share lessons, and ask questions.

“It’s easier for residents to start a project if they can learn from those who went before them,” Sedgh said. “It helps to know about any obstacles, and what people did to overcome the obstacles.”

As an example, Sedgh pointed to a project on medication reconciliation that occurred at her own facility. When residents at Maimonides noticed problems with medication dosages not being effectively communicated to patients during transitions, they worked with the hospital’s organizational performance staff to develop and refine a chart-auditing process.

As with many quality improvement efforts, the overarching goal appears worthy and doable. But the devil is in the details. During implementation, residents learned they needed the hospital’s administration to play a certain role in the process. The effort ultimately achieved a big reduction in medication errors, Sedgh said.

“If residents know beforehand what the issues are because another group of residents already went through it and shared their lessons, that will make it easier for that group,” Sedgh said.

The QI Gateway website also features a QI 101 section, which offers an overview of the concept, a worksheet to help determine a hospital’s readiness for QI projects, and a glossary of common quality and safety terms, among other resources.

Though currently the site is only for resident physicians, Sedgh said that if the site is successful, they hope to ultimately make the site or similar sites available to all physicians.