My QI Story: Fran Griffin
Tuesday, January 7, 2020
Incorporating Quality Improvement for 20+ Years
My first exposure to quality improvement was as a respiratory therapist working at Morristown Memorial Hospital in New Jersey when I was designated to coordinate for our department. I found it interesting and rather intuitive from the very start. We had a consultant working with us who had worked in quality at Bell Labs and I learned much from him. A few years later, I was “loaned” to the medical affairs department to assist with prep for a JCAHO visit. At that time, quality work was within risk management and following the survey, our chief medical officer separated quality out and created a new role: manager of performance improvement, which became my new job.
One of the first projects in my new role was participating in a quality improvement collaborative on adverse drug events. This was run by the local VHA chapter using the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Breakthrough Series model and the lead faculty was Dr. Lucian Leape. A few months in, I learned that IHI was hosting a national congress to conclude one of their ADE collaboratives and I attended, where I met Dr. Donald Berwick. I later attended a three-day IHI training course called Methods and Tools for Breakthrough Improvement and the annual IHI National Forum.
In 1999, a colleague participating in an IHI project on medication safety shared my work with Tom Nolan from Associates in Process Improvement, the project lead. I was subsequently invited to join the project – Idealized Design of the Medication System – where I met many patient safety colleagues with whom I still work today. The first IHI trigger tool was developed in this along with other safety tools. In 2000, I became IHI faculty which led to a full-time role in 2002 as a director, primarily in patient safety.
From 2002–2010, I worked at IHI on patient safety, quality improvement and the Triple Aim. I learned much and had the opportunity to work with others both around the US and the world. Two highlights were working on the 100k and 5M Lives Campaigns and co-developing the Global Trigger Tool. I left my full time role in 2010 but remained as faculty.
After a brief stint in the private sector, I had the opportunity to join the newly formed CMS Innovation Center to launch and direct the Innovation Advisors Program. It was an exciting time in US healthcare and I spent almost five years working at CMMI on a number of the innovation models and developing spread strategies leveraging the CMS regional structure.
Currently I am working as an independent consultant which includes some faculty work with IHI and quality improvement advising with other organizations such as the NJ Academy of Family Physicians and NJ Hospital Association. I have fortunately had great opportunities and developed a network of colleagues, many of whom I have the pleasure to continue working with today. Looking back, I never could have anticipated that such a great journey would emerge in quality improvement.
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