Optimizing the effectiveness, efficiency, integration, and satisfaction associated with delivered health care is not only highly principled but also good business practice in an extremely competitive environment. Programs that foster quality improvement and patient safety efforts while also promoting a scholarly focus can generate the incentives and organizational recognition needed to make patient safety and quality improvement bona fide components of the academic mission. The authors describe the development, implementation, and results of a dedicated Section on Quality and Patient Safety (SQPS) within an academic anesthesiology department. Spearheaded by a physician champion and vigorously supported by the departmental chair, this SQPS engaged core leaders from the Department of Anesthesiology. This departmental quality and patient safety management team adopted quality improvement and performance improvement techniques that have been successfully used in other industries. The SQPS has gained support through data-driven results and reiterative promotion. Transparency and accountability have also been powerful motivators for achieving clinician buy-in and changing behavior. Since its inception in 2007, the SQPS has initiated or managed through to completion more than 25 quality and performance improvement projects, including an intraoperative corneal injury reduction program, a wrong-sided regional anesthesia procedure, a drug-eluting coronary stent protocol, and a practice-improvement initiative for resident physicians. The SQPS has not only robustly promoted a departmental culture of quality patient care and safety but also set the standard for other departments and stakeholders within the authors’ health system.
Dr. Boudreaux is professor and vice chair, Section on Quality and Patient Safety, Department of Anesthesiology, University of Alabama School of Medicine, Birmingham, Alabama.
Dr. Vetter is Maurice S. Albin Professor, Department of Anesthesiology, University of Alabama School of Medicine, Birmingham, Alabama.
First published online December 23, 2012
Supplemental digital content for this article is available at http://links.lww.com/ACADMED/A112.
Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Vetter, Department of Anesthesiology, University of Alabama School of Medicine, 619 19th St. South, JT-862, Birmingham, AL 35249-6810; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.