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The one-stop site for quality improvement

November 2008

Published in the November 2008 issue of Today’s Hospitalist

If you’re looking for a little inspiration for a quality improvement project “or you’ve got a project you’d like your colleagues to hear about “there’s a new Web site that was built with you in mind.

Health Care Innovations Exchange was launched by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) last spring. The site, which features hundreds of quality improvement initiatives, was designed to give health care practitioners not only a dose of inspiration, but practical information they need to replicate initiatives at their facilities.

While some of those initiatives were originally featured in medical journals, the AHRQ site gives researchers a forum to provide many more details. The site gives authors a chance to explain why they chose to tackle a particular topic, as well as a look at how the initiative affected patient care.

“Much of what’s published in the medical literature doesn’t capture the details that we need,” explains Mary Nix, an AHRQ health scientist administrator who manages the Web site.

She’s quick to add that prior publication in a medical journal is by no means a requirement for initiatives to be featured on the site. The Web site’s panel of experts is always on the lookout for innovations that haven’t been published “as long as they’ve been implemented.

“We want to focus on how effective interventions are implemented and how care delivery is changing,” she says. “A project isn’t of interest to us until it’s been integrated into a delivery model.”

And instead of just featuring initiatives that have been successful, the site welcomes stories from innovators whose work has flopped. “There’s a lot to learn from quality improvement initiatives that haven’t succeeded,” Ms. Nix says, although she admits that finding unsuccessful stories can be a challenge.