I just returned from a week-long learning session at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI). Being a quality professional, many of the concepts taught were not new to me. Several of the articles shared I had read before. Some of the speakers I had seen previously. Nonetheless, the experience entered the realm of life changing.
IHI is an incredibly magical place where non-stop innovation lives and breathes with a single unifying mission to improve lives of all people. With just over one hundred employees, much of their work is directed at healthcare. However, they also apply their process improvement expertise to the social factor such as finding housing for the homeless in the United States. Meanwhile, in Africa, they distribute hope and education among mothers and newborns. Their reach continues around the world as they provide free online education in patient safety and health improvement for students and faculty. Their patient safety solutions, assistance, and projects are designed to transcend every challenge of culture, language, resource, time, distance, government, or human condition.
IHI openly shares many of its resources and successes. Their transparency inspires others and their own internal staff to boldly tackle problems and proclaim, “The impossible is fun!” However, if their work is bold, it is performed by humble, self-effacing people driven to help others. Should that all sound too far removed from practical reality, each employee at IHI consistently practices what they preach. All ideas are encouraged and considered, actions are highly collaborative, communication is across the organization, process improvement methods come from literature, and information is rigorously researched. There are no egos and there are no big administrative offices with closed doors. There is a pervasive and enlightened culture of “we” helping others to improve the world.
IHI is a microcosm of utopia on so many levels. The impact this small group of people known as IHI have made on millions of lives is astonishing. They are dedicated people changing the world and providing amazing proof of the human potential possible in the right culture.