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Quality Improvement’s Greatest Challenge

Examples of excellent quality care abound in our health care system, often in small pockets of success.

The problem is moving these “one-off” best practices to being the normative standards of care – in other words, into “the way things are done” across the system. This problem is one of the greatest challenges of quality improvement.

This process of moving a proven success to broader and larger settings is called “scale and spread.” Just how long can it take to spread and scale a proven successful idea? Some studies suggest it can take as many as 17 years (a generation!) to transition evidence-based research from paper into broad-based routine clinical practice. And of practices that do get adopted, all too often they are only successfully implemented in just one organization.

Imagine if we could fast-track change – turning discovery into action and action into quality improvement – and shave off as many as 15 years from the process. What if it didn’t matter what door a patient walked through for a given care episode because the quality of care would be the same?

Turns out, it’s not too far-fetched an idea, and it’s supported by experts in various fields. One initiative that has tried to take on this challenge is the Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario's Adopting Research to Improve Care (ARTIC) program.

ARTIC is designed to support, enhance, and accelerate the application of research evidence by strengthening channels for change, addressing barriers, and celebrating innovative ideas. After several years of success since its creation in 2010, CAHO and Health Quality Ontario (HQO) are partnering to take ARTIC to the next level, expanding it beyond academic hospitals to all sectors on a provincial level.

Calling all those interested in quality improvement

We are announcing a new partnership between the Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario (CAHO) and Health Quality Ontario (HQO) with a Call for Project Proposals

This year we are looking for projects on the theme of integration of care. We’re looking for projects that present an intervention that addresses coordination, continuity and access to health care services.

Projects must be based in evidence and have been proven and tested in at least one site (or group of organizations) with the ability to be spread to others. Examples include (but aren’t limited to) the implementation of cross-sectoral evidence-based guidelines, shared clinical protocols, pathways and standards of care, and/or collaboration across organizations – all with the goal of improving quality of care.

Applicants should submit their letters of intent by November 24, and full submissions on February 2nd, to You can find the 2014 Applicant Information package here.

Stay engaged with us
It’s an exciting time for ARTIC and for the quality of health care in Ontario. Please watch this space for updates on ARTIC, and follow @HQOntario on Twitter or myself @DrJoshuaTepper for more information on about the exciting new initiatives that are unfolding with ARTIC.

In the meantime, be sure to submit your proposals. Please also help us spread the word about this exciting opportunity!

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