Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Guest Commentary: A Fellow's Reflections on the 10th Annual Quality Colloquium

Zoe Clancy, PharmD

Fellow, Health Economics & Outcomes Research

Jefferson School of Population Health

In the words of Paul Wallace, MD, co-chair of the Harvard Tenth Quality Colloquium, “The test if you learned something is if you can go back home and talk about it.” This past week I attended the Tenth Quality Colloquium and I would like to think that I learned a lot. This is the first professional conference I have attended as a Health Economics and Outcomes Research Fellow at the School of Population Health and it was a rewarding experience.

Attending this conference has really highlighted a lot of topics and issues that I am learning about through the fellowship. The sessions I attended on health informatics, value-based purchasing, and quality improvement in the patient experience were led by leaders in their fields. Many topics about the culture of safety were discussed, such as accountable care organizations, meaningful use, and electronic health records.

The session devoted to Using Data to Improve Health Care Quality, Safety and Efficacy was interesting to me as a fellow in an outcomes research program. One of the main ideas I learned from the session was that data banks and the amount of information may be growing, but Health Informatics is still only a tool to access that data. Automating healthcare is important, but it is not enough. Training of personnel in informatics is needed in order to use data collection to its full potential.

In the Value-Based Purchasing seminar I became more familiar with Meaningful Use and other quality incentive programs. I was first exposed to these concepts by working with the JUP Quality Improvement team here at Jefferson, and after attending the session I look forward to applying what I learned to future JUP projects.

I noticed that pharmacists were mentioned frequently during the colloquium. It was brought up numerous times that pharmacists, being the medication experts, can play a crucial and valuable role in patient safety by becoming involved in medication safety. As a pharmacist, I am inspired by all that I heard, and am energized to utilize those principles in my fellowship.

I look forward to the opportunity to attend more conferences and sessions like the Tenth Quality Colloquium in the future.

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