What you'll learn

  • Why improvement science is valuable in health, health care, and daily life.
  • Why understanding a system is critical to improving a process.
  • The value of conducting iterative tests of change.
  • How an improvement project evolves into reliable, standard work.
  • How to design and execute a personal improvement project, including an aim, measures, and tests of change.
  • How interprofessional teams come together to do successful improvement work.

Course description

Developed through a collaboration between HarvardX and the Institute for Healthcare ImprovementPH 556x: Practical Improvement Science in Health Care: A roadmap for getting results will provide learners with the valuable skills and simple, well-tested tools they need to translate promising innovations or evidence into practice. A group of expert faculty will explore a scientific approach to improvement — a practical, rigorous methodology that includes a theory of change, measurable aims, and iterative, incremental small tests of change to determine if improvement concepts can be implemented effectively in practice. Faculty will present this science through the lens of improving health and health care, but will also share examples of how improvement can (and does) influence our daily lives.

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Each week, learners will dive into engaging, interactive materials and relevant resources to start building an improvement toolkit that will serve them long after the seven-week course ends. Learners will immediately put their new skills to the test as they work each week on a personal improvement project that will show them the power of the science that has improved healthcare — and other industries — around the world for decades.

The only prerequisite for the course is curiosity, but the reward is a lifetime of improvement.

In support of improving patient care, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement is accredited by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing education for the healthcare team. This activity has also been approved by the National Association for Healthcare Quality for CPHQ CE credit. If you are interested in earning CEUs for this course, please visit www.IHI.org/PH556X to see the options and steps required prior to enrolling or taking any action on edX.

Course outline

  • Lesson 1: What is the Science of Improvement?
  • Lesson 2: Applying the Model for Improvement
  • Lesson 3: Introduction to Measurement for Improvement
  • Lesson 4: Practical Tools that Support Improvement (including a seven-piece toolkit)
  • Lesson 5: Using Systems Principles to Spread Improvement
  • Lesson 6: Working within Interprofessional Teams
  • Lesson 7: Implementing Sustainable Improvement Work

Faculty

  • Portrait of Don Goldmann
    Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School; Chief Medical and Scientific Officer for the Institute for Healthcare Improvement
  • Portrait of Dave Williams
    Executive Director, Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI)
  • Portrait of Don Berwick
    President Emeritus and Senior Fellow, Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI)

Associated Schools

  • Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

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