The team at Healthcare Improvement Scotland established QI Connect in 2014 at the request of clinicians working with us, namely our National Clinical Leads and Quality & Safety Fellows.
Our Medical Director, Dr Brian Robson, originally came up with the idea to host the series by WebEx, inspired by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Author in the Room series. Brian challenged our team to secure what he called blow your socks off speakers. It was pretty daunting at first but, we quickly rose to the challenge and pulled our wish list together!
We began the task of reaching out to our target potential speakers from Professor Marshall Ganz who designed Barack Obama’s original presidential campaign, to Atul Gawande and a whole host of other amazing speakers in between. Including an out of this world (literally!) session with Dr Tom Marshburn, NASA Astronaut, who shared rarely seen footage from inside the International Space Station.
Interest in the series has expanded beyond focus on clinicians and participants now come from many different professional backgrounds across health and social care, the third sector, local authorities and major private sector organisations.
We carefully drafted each email request with an honest and genuine ask – we work with health and social care professionals every day and we see first-hand their commitment and drive to provide the best quality of care. If we could offer just one hour of inspiration to them through QI Connect, it would be a tremendous achievement.
One by one, all of our speakers began to respond and, amazingly, they all confirmed that they would love to be involved. It was the most wonderful feeling each time a yes email landed in my inbox! None of our speakers requested fees for taking part and this meant that we could offer QI Connect completely free of charge.
We provide CPD certification and each episode is recorded and made available on our website and HD You Tube channel so that colleagues can catch up if they are unable to join the live session.
We are now in our fifth year of QI Connect, and from a small initial group, the reach of our series spans across the globe with almost 800 organisations from health, social care, third care sector, education and beyond in 60 countries.
The success of QI Connect has been solely due to our outstanding faculty of speakers and their own kindness and generosity in taking part and, of course, a now well-established network of QI connectors who help us to spread the word.
We have also been incredibly lucky to partner with other organisations, including the International Society for Quality in Healthcare (ISQua) and The Health Foundation. QI Connect is provided as part of the Q Initiative and we have benefited so much from Q’s ongoing support, expertise, particularly around how we evaluate our impact and improve our processes, and most importantly friendship!
We now receive many requests from organisations around the world for advice about setting up similar series. The first time this happened, I spoke to Professor Jason Leitch, the National Clinical Director for Healthcare Quality and Strategy in NHS Scotland, who immediately said, it all adds to the tapestry of quality. I loved that sentiment, and we have been committed to proactively sharing our story and any resources that we have developed along the way so that others can benefit from our experience.
Leadership + Ideas = innovation
To quote one of my favourite QI Connect speakers, Professor Don Berwick, none of this happens without leadership. Throughout our journey, Brian has encouraged and supported our team to create a culture where we can develop and test our ideas in order to continuously improve our QI Connect series and transform it from a simple WebEx to a global learning platform.
QI Connect is the part of my job that I absolutely love. It has genuinely never felt like work to me and it really brings me, and my team, joy in work.