Meeting in the Commons

About 50 small groups brainstorming ways to surmount 14 barriers to IBD care

About 50 small groups of clinicians/patients/parents brainstorming how to surmount 14 barriers to care #icncc15f

We are just over one week out from the Fall 2015 ImproveCareNow Community Conference (#ICNCC15F). Everyone is getting caught up, re-organized, and starting to set priorities for their improvement work in the coming months.

For the past several community conferences, we concluded by polling participants to assess the sense of community that we are all creating together. We asked participants to rate the extent to which they agreed with the following statements: 1) I am leaving feeling like I have a role in this Learning Health System; 2) If there is a problem in this community, members can get it solved; 3) I have influence over what this community is like; 4) I feel hopeful about the future of this community. These were adapted from the Sense of Community Index 2 (SCI-2) – a great, free resource:

Sense of Community Index 2 (SCI-2): Background, Instrument, and Scoring InstructionsThe poll responses tell us that we are doing very well. As always, there are opportunities to continue to learn about how to strengthen the ImproveCareNow community. It’s great that so many are invested in getting us there together. We’re eager to hear the ideas that you all have.

We are feeling hopeful about the future of this community for many reasons; most importantly because we are seeing the community gather in our virtual commons—the ICN Exchange—keeping the connection, momentum, and sense of community going. Here is one example that shows us that when our community has a need, our community responds:

Last week, one experienced ImproveCareNow center asked this:
ICN Exchange Pin asking what other teams have on their ICN Bulletin BoardAnd shortly after, several, including a patient partner, responded with their examples and new ideas:
Meeting in the Commons 3Then, just two days later, a brand new center shared this:

Meeting in the Commons 4Communities organized around a place have gathering spaces. They may be coffee shops, parks, or community centers. When we created the Exchange, we set out to create a space for the ImproveCareNow community to gather and learn together when we’re not together. And it’s gratifying to see clinicians, parents, and patients make it their space in ways we didn’t expect.

Why do you feel hopeful about the future of this community? Let us know in the comments section or write your own brief LOOP post to tell us your story.

[Author’s note: This post was co-written with Peter Margolis, Executive Scientific Director for ImproveCareNow. Having both watched ImproveCareNow evolve and grow over the past eight years, we continue to delight in the generous sharing and collaboration becoming more visible in the community each day.]

Until we meet again

The days immediately following an ImproveCareNow Community Conference are always a bit of a let-down for me. After a frenzy of collaboration, learning, partnership, and celebration (not to mention the months of hard work leading up to it!), it just stops. There are many reflections and lessons that will be shared by me and others in the coming weeks (in the meantime, peruse the rich content on the #ICNCC15F twitter stream), but my thoughts–and hopes–for the community right now are quite simple as I enjoy a day of catching up and recharging.

Many of our nearly 300 clinician, parent, and patient partners left Chicago telling us that this was the best ImproveCareNow Community Conference ever. I’m always thrilled to hear that, as our whole team cares deeply about the experience that we all have when we’re together twice a year. It’s a bit like a family reunion. You live far from each other, you try to connect across the miles and stay in touch, but there is something special about spending real time together. Connecting and seeing one another as real people, instead of just names and e-mail addresses. So I promise that we’ll keep trying to make the next conference the best ever.

But I’d also like to flip this around. When we all gather again in Dallas in the Spring, I plan to ask the community whether the last six months–the time since we last met in Chicago–was the best time of improvement, innovation, and partnership you’ve ever had back where you receive and provide care. Because the ideas, the examples, and the appeals to steal them all shamelessly this weekend need to be carried back with you. Help us make the “best Community Conference ever” matter not just for those who were there. Make it matter for every patient you touch…or all of the clinicians with whom you partner in your–or your child’s–care.

I spoke about persistence, problem solving, and community as we opened the session. Be persistent. Use the quality improvement tools that Wallace Crandall reminded us are the foundation of our work. Take the lessons you heard from the Riley and Michigan teams about co-production and reach out to connect with a patient or parent who really wants to help you improve. Read the story of Ernest Lawrence that Peter Margolis shared and tell your patients about how the work you are doing is building on the same tradition of big science and innovation–solving really big problems that will matter to them. And build your local ImproveCareNow community by making that “hard ask,” which you may have learned about during our discussions about the engagement campaign: Ask a parent if they will come and meet with your team next week to discuss their input on an upcoming QI project. Or ask your physician to see your pre-visit planning data next time you are in clinic so you can partner more closely in improving your care.

At each Community Conference, ImproveCareNow leaders and coaches talk less as you all share and teach more. But we want to hear from even more of you in Spring 2016. So here’s my “hard ask” for you: Will you put a stake in the ground now and aim to stand in front of our community in Dallas and share how you made this the best ever six months of improvement, partnership, and innovation in your local ImproveCareNow community?

I wrapped up the Conference by reminding us all to keep doing those things that make us a community, things like telling stories, solving problems, learning together, and becoming even more connected to the smaller communities within ImproveCareNow. Keep doing those things, but as someone recently reminded me, be kind to yourself too. The community is only as strong and healthy as we are as individuals. So get some rest, get back into your daily routine, and reach out to thank someone who made an impact on you this weekend. Today, I’m resting up and cleaning up the (enormous!) mess in my office, but also taking the time to thank all 300 of you for the impact that you’ve had on me.

As We Prepare for the Community Conference

Fall 2015 ImproveCareNow Conference LogoNearly 300 patients, parents, clinicians, researchers, improvers, collaborators, and supporters are preparing to come together to learn, share and collaborate (to outsmart IBD) at the Fall 2015 ImproveCareNow Community Conference! So, I’m stopping by LOOP to share some important things (some might even call them highlights) with you:

First I hope you will take seven minutes out of your day to watch two inspirational videos. I just did and am reminded how well they illustrate what ImproveCareNow is; giving us a glimpse of us who is a part of ICN and why we do the important work we do:


Agenda BannerNext, I hope you’ll be excited to take a peek at our Community Conference Agenda. One of the best parts of the creation of this agenda was the open call for proposals from the Community for agenda topics. Can you count how many sessions on this jam-packed agenda have been proposed by our ICN Community members? We’re seeing more and more of this type of community-driven teaching, learning and sharing, as I think Sarah Myers alluded to when she wrote “When Working For Becomes Working With

icncc15f coverAfter looking over the agenda, I know you’ll be excited to connect with @improvecarenow on Twitter, Facebook and/or Instagram so you can see the conference unfold through tweets and posts, pictures and videos – and so you can join the conversation! Here’s how to connect:

Follow ImproveCareNow on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook:

#icncc15f is now live

Click to check out real-time analytics for #ICNCC15F!

And – perhaps most importantly –  #ICNCC15F is our Community Conference hashtag. It was created via Symplur and the Healthcare Hashtag Project, which is aimed at connecting the dots in healthcare social media. Use #ICNCC15F – on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram – to watch the conference unfold, and join the conversation anytime by tweeting or posting about the Community Conference and including #ICNCC15F!