Volume VIII, September, 2012

As a the director of a geriatric fellowship program, John Voytas, MD, CMD, is passionate about the field and shares this enthusiasm with his students. However, he also realizes that such programs have limitations and that they can’t reach all promising young physicians. That is one reason he supports the AMDA Foundation Futures Program. Last year, he worked with the Michigan state chapter to send a student to the Futures Program. “That Futures participant was one of my fellows. That young physician now is doing nursing home work in Michigan,” he said proudly.

Paul Sanders, MD, who won a 2011 AMDA Foundation/Pfizer Award for his study, “Pilot of a Tool Kit for the Implementation of the PAINLESS Pathway,” said that he sees several drivers in the quest for QI. “First, there is an underlying desire to see that care delivered is of the highest quality and produces the best results. We also must be honest and recognize that we live in a rapidly changing marketplace and that cost is a component of that. If we can demonstrate to payors through quality improvement that we deliver high quality, effective care, it serves us well.”

Saka Kazeem, MD, CMD, along with Phyllis Quinlan, was a recipient of the 2012 AMDA Foundation Quality Improvement and Health Outcome Award for their project, “Enhancing Resident Safety via a Fall Reduction Initiative.” She said, “It was an honor to receive this award, and it opened many doors.

From its start, the AMDA Foundation saw the value of QI studies to identify effective QI models, projects, and ideas. In 2001, the Foundation established the AMDA Foundation/ Pfizer Quality Improvement Awards, a program designed to encourage the development of innovative projects that will help make a distinct impact on LTC quality. Proposals may be submitted for a general quality improvement project or in any one of five areas of focus: pain management, dementia, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, or urinary incontinence.

Several years ago, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released the report, “Crossing the Quality Chasm, which identified six aims for improvement in health care. These included improving safety, effectiveness, patient-centered care, timeliness of care delivery, efficiency, and equity. In looking at ways to make improvements in these areas—and subsequently to reduce medical errors and other problems—many health care leaders turned to the example of corporate America and adopted the so-called “six sigma” philosophy—a form of quality improvement.