Background: In 2008 New York-Presbyterian Hospital (NYP)/Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York City, the largest not-for-profit, nonsectarian hospital in the United States, created and implemented a novel approach--the Housestaff Quality Council (HQC)--to engaging house-staff in quality and patient safety activities.
Methods: The HQC represented an innovative collaboration between the housestaff, the Department of Anesthesiology, the Division of Quality and Patient Safety, the Office of Graduate Medical Education, and senior leadership. As key managers of patient care, the housestaff sought to become involved in the quality and patient safety decision- and policy-making processes at the hospital. Its members were determined to decrease or minimize adverse events by facilitating multimodal communication, ensuring smart work flow, and measuring outcomes to determine best practices. The HQC, which also included frontline hospital staff or managers from areas such as nursing, pharmacy, and information technology, aligned its initiatives with those of the division of quality and patient safety and embarked on two projects--medication reconciliation and use of the electronic medical record. More than three years later, the resulting improvements have been sustained and three new projects--hand hygiene, central line-associated bloodstream infections, and patient handoffs--have been initiated.
Conclusions: The HQC model is highly replicable at other teaching institutions as a complementary approach to their other quality and patient safety initiatives. However, the ability to sustain positive momentum is dependent on the ability of residents to invest time and effort in the face of a demanding residency training schedule and focus on specialty-specific clinical and research activities.