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Advancing health care quality and safety through action learning

Simon Mathews (Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine , Baltimore, Maryland, USA)
Sherita Golden (Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine , Baltimore, Maryland, USA)
Renee Demski (Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine , Baltimore, Maryland, USA)
Peter Pronovost (Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine , Baltimore, Maryland, USA)
Lisa Ishii (Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine , Baltimore, Maryland, USA)

Leadership in Health Services

ISSN: 1751-1879

Article publication date: 2 May 2017

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to demonstrate how action learning can be practically applied to quality and safety challenges at a large academic medical health system and become fundamentally integrated with an institution’s broader approach to quality and safety.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors describe how the fundamental principles of action learning have been applied to advancing quality and safety in health care at a large academic medical institution. The authors provide an academic contextualization of action learning in health care and then transition to how this concept can be practically applied to quality and safety by providing detailing examples at the unit, cross-functional and executive levels.

Findings

The authors describe three unique approaches to applying action learning in the comprehensive unit-based safety program, clinical communities and the quality management infrastructure. These examples, individually, provide discrete ways to integrate action learning in the advancement of quality and safety. However, more importantly when combined, they represent how action learning can form the basis of a learning health system around quality and safety.

Originality/value

This study represents the broadest description of action learning applied to the quality and safety literature in health care and provides detailed examples of its use in a real-world context.

Keywords

Citation

Mathews, S., Golden, S., Demski, R., Pronovost, P. and Ishii, L. (2017), "Advancing health care quality and safety through action learning", Leadership in Health Services, Vol. 30 No. 2, pp. 148-158. https://doi.org/10.1108/LHS-10-2016-0051

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited