Quality Commons, a new partnership of organizations, professionals and
scholars dedicated to improving health care in America, has received a
federal designation that will pave the way for innovative
complexity-informed projects and research on delivering the best and
most cost-effective care. Plexus Institute is one of the partners.
federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the lead
government agency charged with improving quality, safety, efficiency and
effectiveness of health care for all Americans, has chosen The Quality
Commons (TQC) to be one of 17 national health care partnerships that
will have the capacity to explore multiple aspects of how care and
access to care can be enhanced at the same time cost is contained. An
unusual aspect of the TQC initiative is that the multi-disciplinary
backgrounds and prior experience of its members will allow the rigorous
application of complexity science principals in planning and analyzing
research that takes place in clinical settings.
TQC won a nation-wide competition for the AHRQ designation that makes
it part of the Accelerating Change and Transformation in Organizations
and Networks (ACTION II) program. As an ACTION II network, The Quality Commons members have made following commitment:
We will improve health of Americans by using our collective wisdom,
relationships, diverse capabilities and a complexity science framework
to solve intractable health care challenges and transform patient care.
formed in March, includes healthcare organizations with a wide range of
medical specialties as well as scholars with expertise in complexity
science, mathematics, statistics, education, nursing, organizations and
management, medical research, psychology, social networking and
communications. The members pledged to use their combined skills and
experience to solve intractable problems in healthcare and provide
knowledge on how evidence-based improvements can be widely incorporated
into routine care. The members chose an addendum to its name that
highlights the intent to create fresh a vision and achievable goals:
"Changing Conversations in Health Care."
awards to ACTION networks supported pilot programs and research to
improve ambulatory care, care of patients with chronic illnesses, long
term care, and the effectiveness of Hepatitis B immunization programs,
as well as explorations of financial issues in health delivery systems.
II grants awarded this year will focus on promoting the development,
implementation and dissemination of evidence-based improvements in
health care. Awardees are assigned to try to achieve one
or more of the following objectives in research that can take place over
- to discover the potential success of a previously untested innovation
- to implement in a new setting interventions that have worked elsewhere
- to spread proven innovations or delivery systems
- to increase knowledge about factors that help or hinder sustainability of innovations.
TQC members have previously collaborated in a successful initiative to
use complexity science-informed behavior change processes that
dramatically reduced the incidence of health care-associated Methicillin
Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) infections. That
effort, initially funded by a grant from The Robert Wood Johnson
Foundation, produced collaborative work that continued beyond the grant
period and spread to healthcare organizations not covered in the initial
grant. Further, the practices and methodologies that helped combat MRSA
have been found helpful in addressing other quality issues. Experience
in gathering and evaluating data from different locations is also
expected to aid any new initiatives. The productivity of the MRSA work was among the inspirations for formation of The Quality Commons. Because
of relationships and experiences built over many years of health care
service and advocacy, members of this ACTION II network will be able to
call on people in as many as 350 organizations across the U.S. if
additional expertise or knowledge is needed for a project. Explorations
have already begun on ways to foster healing relationships between
patients and professional care givers.
theoretical, practical and scholarly diversity of the participants
promises that original insights as well as professional competence will
guide the selection of issues and interpretation of the results.
in The Quality Commons are: Billings Clinic, Billings, MT; Albert
Einstein Healthcare Network, Philadelphia, PA. Cabin Creek Health
Systems, Dawes. WV; Maine Medical Center, Portland, ME; Park
Nicollet Health Services, St. Louis Park, MN; University of Louisville
Hospital, Louisville, KY; Plexus Institute, Bordentown, NJ, and the
Center for Family, Community and Social Justice, Princeton, NJ.
Individual collaborators are: Ruth Anderson, PhD, MSN, MA, Virginia Stone Professor of Nursing and senior fellow at the Center for Aging and Human Development, Duke
University School of Nursing, Durham, NC; Lucia Dura, PhD candidate in
rhetoric and writing, University of Texas, El Paso, TX; Ary L.
Goldberger, MD, professor of medicine, Harvard University; director of
the Margret and H.A. Rey Institute for Nonlinear Dynamics in Physiology
and Medicine, Boston, MA; Larry Liebovitch, PhD, AM, dean of mathematics and natural sciences, Queens College of the City University of New York, Flushing, NY; Keith
McCandless, MA, Co-founder of the Social Intervention Group, Seattle,
WA; Arvind Singhal, PhD, professor of communications and director of
research and outreach, University of Texas, El Paso, TX; and Bruce West, PhD, MA, chief scientist for mathematical and information science, U.S. Army Research Office, Research Triangle Park, NC.
For further information on The Quality Commons and its work, contact Curt Lindberg at Plexus Institute.