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Quality improvement leadership for complex times: Applying The Ottawa Hospital innovation framework

Overall Objective: After completing this workshop, health leaders will demonstrate the ability to recognize and practice applying a practical and systematic quality improvement method (The TOH Improvement Framework) and tools that support actionable, tangible change in a complex healthcare environment. 


Learning Outcomes:  

  • Recognize the TOH Innovation Framework and explain how it differentiates from other quality improvement models  

  • Explore the challenges and common barriers of quality improvement initiatives  

  • Critically assess the application of the TOH Innovation Framework  

  • Describe key leadership skills essential to facilitate quality improvement.  

  • Identify professional development strategies to build quality improvement capacity using the TOH Innovation Framework. 


Background: The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) is committed to building a culture of continuous improvement. To serve this commitment, the TOH developed the TOH Innovation Framework (the Innovation Framework), a proprietary quality improvement (QI) method that includes elements from the Model for Improvement, LEAN, and Six Sigma. It has been used to successfully guide QI, change leadership, and innovation across organizations. In 2015, TOH developed a four-day in-person workshop to teach health leaders about the Innovation Framework and assist in developing and executing their own change ideas. In 2016, TOH incorporated their method within the University of Ottawa, Telfer Quality Improvement & Patient Safety Leadership executive program. This workshop builds off the ongoing success of these educational programs. Ideas, Skills, Problems Addressed: Our healthcare environment is complex and rapidly changing. There is a constant need to address challenges and gaps in the system through quality improvement. And yet, many quality improvement projects fail. This is because many organizations and individuals lack the knowledge, skills, and tools needed to effectively tackle quality issues in a reliable way. This workshop addresses this problem by introducing participants to the Innovation Framework. By working through a QI case study, participants will acquire a new and holistic view of the quality improvement process and develop an understanding of how the Innovation Framework can be used to systematically address quality/safety improvements in their own organizations. This workshop will also teach critical leadership skills to further assist participants in their own QI initiatives. 


Originality and innovation: The Innovation Framework is a unique and renowned quality improvement model that takes the best of other well-known QI models and has expanded and perfected it into a practical and effective tool for healthcare professionals of all levels. 


Audience Engagement: Participants will be encouraged to actively engage with and work as a group (tabletop and facilitated group discussion). 


Relevance to the Conference theme: A rigorous and consistent quality improvement methodology and concrete tools are necessary to promote successful and meaningful improvement in our constantly changing and challenged health system, yet much time and money is wasted on failed initiatives. This framework supports effective change and efficient use of resources. 


Practical application of learning: Participants will gain skills by practicing the use of quality tools within the Innovation Framework. 



Samantha Hamilton – Director, Quality and Infection Control, The Ottawa Hospital 



Jessica Schierbeck – Director, Strategic Solutions | CHA Learning, HealthCareCAN 

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