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Quality Improvement: Join the Club

Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media, December 14, 2010

Blumenthal has put an emphasis on input and collaboration—he works with industry trade groups and state and federal offices. He's enlisted thought leaders, formed committees of experts, and sought input from patient privacy and legal rights advocates. He's called on healthcare leaders to be participants and partners in determining the future of electronic health systems.

"We envision a future where information follows patients," he says. "Unconstrained by competitive rivalry, unconstrained by geographic boundaries, unconstrained by cultural disinclinations to collaborate, we want teams to emerge in local communities that make exchange possible. And we will be using the meaningful use framework and all other levers at our disposal to try to make that possible."

Binder, too, talks about the role that these different groups have to play in making healthcare better. "Community members, leaders, parents, and grandparents are coming together and walking into hospitals and sitting down with doctors and CEOs and saying, 'What are you going to do to improve things?' And it's really impressive. It's a change and a new way of thinking about how we all contribute to improving healthcare," she says.

I like the idea of quality improvement as a big tent, with lots of different people underneath it using lots of different methods and technologies to make healthcare better. Including Blumenthal and Binder on this year's list has allowed us to expand it exponentially—in fact, there's room in the tent for anyone who's reading this column. 

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