Successful Engagement of Physical Therapy Interns in a Multi-Phase Quality Improvement Project Using the Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control (DMAIC) Methodology

Purpose : The purpose of this project is to describe the process and outcomes of a quality improvement (QI) initiative involving Physical Therapy (PT) interns using the (DMAIC) methodologyDescription : The DMAIC methodology was used in a multi-phase QI project aimed to improve the utilization of outcome measures by staff in an outpatient therapy practice. Three separate groups of PT interns participated in the project over a 12 month time period. A member of the therapy leadership team served as the facilitator of the project. Each student group received education in the DMAIC methodology and was responsible for specific phases of the project. In phase I (Define, Measure and Analyze), a project charter was developed which included specific objectives, project scope, and team memberÕs roles. Baseline data was gathered regarding the frequency and type of outcome tool utilization over a 6-month time period. Results were presented to the therapy leadership team with specific recommendations for process improvements. In phase II (Improve), the students were responsible for implementing the following recommendations made in phase I: 1) development of staff education on outcome tools; 2) development of a quick reference guide; 3) develop and post reminders in various locations in the clinic. During phase III (Control), one of the previous PT students who was subsequently hired as a staff PT, served as the group facilitator. Results of a subsequent chart review showed a 19% improvement in outcome measures utilization. The final phase of the project involved establishing long term operational recommendations to monitor change and compliance.Summary of Use : QI projects provide a platform for clinical educators, PT interns and therapy leaders to work collectively on initiatives that are vital for successful change efforts. PT student may benefit from expanding the clinical learning experience to include quality improvement frameworks. The DMAIC methodology allows QI projects to be divided into defined phases and promotes efficient facilitation by therapy leaders. By engaging students in QI initiatives, they gain experience and leaders benefit from their contributions to the project.Importance to Members: Change is difficult to achieve and sustain in the health care environment. Buy in from all stakeholders is critical. Engagement of students in formal QI projects during clinical internships will increase their knowledge base and may have a positive impact on their professional career. Interaction with those in leadership roles provides students an opportunity to better understand how decisions are made and the importance of being open to change in clinical practice. Those in leadership roles benefit from serving as mentors and laying the foundation for future PTs with QI experience. This project provides an example of successful engagement of PT interns into the QI process and may be applicable to a variety of quality initiatives in the PT clinic setting.

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  • Control #: 1727283
  • Type: Platform
  • Event/Year: CSM2014
  • Authors: Kathryn Cieslak
  • Keywords: Quality Improvement

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