The concept is new to QI initiatives. Although SHM has embraced the idea, mentored implementation programs first started at the Center to Advance Palliative Care in New York City, says Kathleen Kerr, SHM’s program manager for mentored implementation programs and senior research analyst in the Department of Medicine at the University of California at San Francisco. The model is an alternative to more traditional educational approaches that rely exclusively on lectures or educational sessions.
“You could sit in a session and it’s very valuable, but also very different from actually doing it,” Kerr says. “It’s hard to process so much information in a session. You don’t understand the complexity of something like gathering data until you’re actually doing it. The mentor can tailor what they’re teaching to the exact stage of the project.”
In practice, the most effective mentored implementation projects create multiple layers of support for both the mentor and the participant. SHM’s mentored implementation programs include online resource rooms on the topic (e.g., glycemic control or hospital discharge) and collaboration between participants. Rather than being just repositories of information on the subject, SHM’s resource rooms are roadmaps for new programs.
“SHM’s resource rooms define an intervention that can be implemented,” says Geri Barnes, SHM’s senior director of education and meetings.
Those resources, plus ongoing guidance from mentors, help hospitalists implement QI programs at their hospitals. Many hospitalists are early in their careers and benefit from all of the resources available. The energy that early-career hospitalists bring to QI is one of the key components the program harnesses, Kerr says.
“Junior staff are really motivated to do things in their scope, but there aren’t really a lot of mid-career local mentors” who can provide the guidance they need, Kerr says.
Given SHM’s focus on QI and the relative youth of both HM as a specialty and hospitalists in relation to their peers, the mentored implementation model seems particularly suited to hospitalists. Launched in 2007, the VTE Prevention Collaborative was SHM’s first mentored implementation program. It was designed to help hospitalists create custom programs to prevent VTE. The collaborative included mentors, an online resource room, and on-site consultations with experts.
Many people get disillusioned and frustrated with quality-improvement programs and give up. In these programs, the mentor can help identify and address roadblocks.
—Kendall Rogers, MD, University of New Mexico Health Science Center School of Medicine, Albuquerque
SHM created Project BOOST (Better Outcomes for Older adults through Safe Transitions) in 2008. Project BOOST began with six pilot sites and has now expanded to 30 sites. Each hospital site can participate in daylong training sessions and yearlong mentorships. Sites also receive the Project BOOST implementation guide from SHM’s resource room. Since it was posted in July 2008, more than 250 hospitals have downloaded the guide.
In 2009, SHM and hospitalists are teaming up in 30 different sites across the country to improve early detection and treatment of hyperglycemia in hospitalized patients through the Glycemic Control Mentored Implementation program. Each participant in the two-year program receives a toolkit, access to Web-based resources, and is assigned a mentor to guide implementation.
Despite early successes with SHM’s mentored implementation programs, those closest to them acknowledge there is room for improvement. Among a host of factors is the success of the next generation of programs, which will hinge on the idea’s scalability.