by Tosha Mackness | Clinical Director of Quality Initiatives, Clinical Director for Port Angeles, Northwest Kidney Centers
As I prepare for what 2020 holds, I’d like to take some time to reflect on what has just passed. December is my favorite time of year, not due to the holiday cheer, the food, the tree, the gifts, or my birthday (though they don’t hurt), but because it means it is time to attend the annual International Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Conference in Orlando, Fl. The conference provides an abundance of shared experience, shared knowledge, and examples of best practice scenarios, not to mention new innovations, collaborations and a chance to reinvent and re-charge creative thinking and ideas going into a new year!
The first time I had the opportunity to attend the IHI conference was in 2017 and I was immediately blown away by the magnitude of the event. The conference’s dedication to the promotion of healthcare excellence through caring and the sharing of pains and truths is what keeps me going back year after year.
It was at the conference in 2018 where I was first introduced to the concept of “What Matters to You”? Wow!! I have been a nurse for over 20 years and had never even thought of that concept…Well I had in roundabout ways, but never in the context in which it was presented to me at that conference. The “What Matters to You” conversations started with pediatric patients in Norway and have evolved into a global movement across all healthcare settings. I was so excited and took this concept back to the Northwest Kidney Centers, and together we recognized June 7th, 2019 as “What Matters to You” day (note: this is the internationally recognized day; however, the actual date can fluctuate within the month of June). We used the month of June to educate staff and ask them to begin the conversation of “What Matters to You” with their patients. We engaged our clinics, staff, patients and families. We developed “What Matters to You” posters— an easy tool— and asked that the clinics take time to introduce these concepts to their patients and staff. Many of the units used visual tactics to engage patients
We shared and are continuing to share stories related to “What Matters”. It is amazing how much we can learn and how much we can improve outcomes by just asking these questions. Maureen Bisognano, former President and CEO of IHI, calls it, “A concept that is so simple, yet so profound”.
If you are interested in learning more about this important concept please watch this TEDx talk from Jason Leitch, who is the National Clinical Director of the Scottish Government and has been very involved in the IHI and “What Matters to You”.
The 2019 conference once again exceeded my expectations in outstanding conference programming. This year I was able to attend with three of my colleagues— all new to the IHI conference— and witness them experience it for the first time. The conference expanded outside of traditional healthcare speakers and had the founder of the “Me Too” movement, Tarana Burke, share a powerful and moving story about her social justice activism for sexual assault and violence against women and men. Former President and CEO of the IHI, Donald Berwick also delivered a thought provoking and insightful keynote address about health inequities and introduced what he calls the “Moral Determinants of Health”. These two presentations really stuck out to me during the conference, but they are just a small portion of the dedicated champions advocating for improvement and excellence in healthcare at this conference. Each year, the conference continues to impress and provide relevant and moving content. It is also a wonderful opportunity to network and have conversations with my peers from across the country.
Most of this year’s tracks and sessions were geared towards Equity, Joy in Work, Leadership, Patient Safety, Mental Health and Population Health. Since my areas of interest and vision are primarily patient safety and quality, I stuck with sessions within that realm. I was able to have engaging “What Matters Most” Conversations, learn from a great presentation around “Just Culture” and learn more about measuring harm, walking away with new tools and tips.
I also found out that the IHI plans to release new patient safety goals this year- hopefully by the Spring. The year 2020 has been deemed “The Year of the Nurse”, as it is Florence Nightingale’s 200th birthday.
Every time I leave this conference, I am energized and full of ideas; I feel enlightened and know that I can bring this enthusiasm back to the Northwest Kidney Centers to benefit our patients and staff. After all, the reality is that in healthcare we all face the same or very similar challenges and it is only when we come together, work together, and solve problems together that we can start bridging the gaps.
“If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tosha Mackness, RN, CHN, BSN, Patient Safety and Quality Officer. Tosha has worked in dialysis for over 20 years and with the Northwest Kidney Centers since 2006.