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December 2004 Issue

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UC, UH Partner to Improve Patient Care and Safety

Published December 2004

UC Medical Center and University Hospital (UH) have been selected to participate in a new national initiative designed to improve patient care, satisfaction and safety.

UC and UH together will join 11 other academic health centers in Achieving Competence Today (ACT), a pilot program that will allow resident physicians, trainee nurses and other health care students to work closely with management to address problems on the front lines of care.

Funding for ACT comes from Partnerships for Quality Education, a national initiative by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in partnership with the Association of American Medical Colleges and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

While most teaching hospital administrators agree that quality and safety need to improve, says Greg Rouan, MD, principal investigator and program sponsor for ACT, few have successfully integrated quality improvement into their culture.

ACT participants will help address this shortcoming, Dr. Rouan says, by studying a Web-based, self-directed curriculum that teaches the organization, design and financing of health care. Over four weeks, they will also work through problems drawn from actual patient experiences.

The participants will use these tools to increase their knowledge of health care systems and their skills in practice improvement. They will apply what they learn to develop quality improvement plans that address problems they have identified.

Each grantee institution has identified its own area of concern. UC and UH will focus on data that will help improve the quality of inpatient and ambulatory patient care.

Dr. Rouan, faculty from the Colleges of Nursing and Medicine, and senior administrative staff at UH will work with residents and graduate nursing students as they identify problems and refine specific plans to address them. When the plans are complete, senior UH administrators will select the best for further development and implementation.

ACT's innovative approach, says Dr. Rouan, will allow trainees to work with management in ways never attempted before. It could result in teaching hospitals taking the lead in education and research to improve the quality of patient care.

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