BOX 3-6 Institute for Healthcare Improvement

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), a not-for-profit research center, was established in 1991 by Dr. Donald Berwick for the purpose of improving the quality and efficiency of health care. IHI's 15-member board of directors is drawn from leading health care institutions and the academic community. IHI researchers identify specific problems and bring together multidisciplinary teams of experts from across the country to work on them. IHI then creates a collaborative group of 30 to 50 health care institutions that agree to implement the new processes and share their findings. Each collaborative project lasts from nine months to three years.

Problem areas tackled by IHI groups have included: reducing medication errors; reducing waiting times in emergency rooms; reducing surgical infection rates; improving the performance of supply chains; and reducing ventilator-induced pneumonia. IHI has had considerable success, both nationally and internationally, and now has an annual operating budget or more than $30 million, most of it from the health care industry. More than 200 faculty members from different academic institutions lead the project teams, and a network of more than 175 health care institutions are working together to solve specific problems. Because the projects are funded by the participating institutions, they have a vested interest in implementing the new ideas and procedures that are developed. The annual IHI National Forum now attracts more than 4,000 attendees.

Source: IHI, 2005.

From: 3, The Tools of Systems Engineering

Cover of Building a Better Delivery System
Building a Better Delivery System: A New Engineering/Health Care Partnership.
National Academy of Engineering (US) and Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Engineering and the Health Care System; Reid PP, Compton WD, Grossman JH, et al., editors.
Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2005.
Copyright © 2005, National Academy of Sciences.

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