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Conference Rundown: IFSQ 2015

By June 10, 2015 No Comments

A run-down of the recent APSIC 2015, IFSQ 2015 and ECMMID 2015 conferences by Michelle Allen; PhD Candidate with the Centre of Research Excellence in Reducing Healthcare Associated Infections, and an AusHSI grant recipient.

I have been lucky enough to attend three international conferences in the last few months, which  is a rare pleasure for a PhD student.  The second conference was the International Forum on Safety & Quality (IFSQ) in London (21-24 April 2015),  which is run by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) and Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), and brings together all those interested in improving the quailty of care for patients in all areas of healthcare.

My research is in improving hospital cleaning to reduce HAIs, using methods from implementation science to guide infection prevention interventions, and this conference gave me not only an opportunity to present, but to see how the rest of the world is tackling the process of evidence into practice and creating improvements and innovations in healthcare.

Collaboration, Innovation/ Re-design, and Inspiration were the 3 key messages from this conference.

Collaboration was epitomised by IHI Open Schools and NHS Improving Quality. Both discussed their free online courses and quality improvement networks.  Students and junior doctors (complete with lunchtime session with Donald Berwick!) were encouraged to collaborate, find mentors, and to tackle change regardless of their status within an organisation.

Innovation and Re-design was displayed at the following presentations:

  • Steve Boam – TOYOTA thinking, challenged the audience to think about how we can look to other industries for improvement ideas, how we should become more patient (consumer) centred, that staff should be trained in problem solving and improvement, and that there is really no such thing as “good enough”.
  • Lynne Maher, Paul Plsek

    – Creative Collaboration: talked about radical re-design; breaking the conventions and configuring health differently e.g. drive through pharmacy.  They encouraged us to take risks, welcome failure as learning and share ideas.

  • Health technology and data: looked at eHealth records, our ability to link multiple systems e.g. Health and social services, apps for health improvement, and also making sure we focus actually on the patient and not the electronic version of them.

Inspiration from amazing Keynote speakers:

  • Martine Wright who tragically lost both legs as she was seated next to one of the bombers on the tube during the 7/7 terrorist attack, but has since recovered and learnt to fly, skydive, ski, got married, become a mum, and is now a para-Olympic athlete;
  • Alfred Biehler from Google discussed some amazing health technologies e.g. Contact lenses that can measure glucose for Diabetes, Nano particles, smartphone assessments of glaucoma, movement compensating spoon (Parkinson/tremor patients); as well as inspire us to Dream (follow your passion), Fail fast (accept failure early and move on, learn),  and Think Big (it is easier to do something 10x better than 10% better);

Inspiration also came from the really great posters covering all aspects of patient care from infection prevention to diabetes to mental health. My favourite poster “The patient as co-creator” (Sweden), not only focused on collaborative patient centred care, but easily demonstrated a complex process through simple imagery.


Clockwise (from top left): Donald Berwick (IHI), Poster – Patient as the co-creator (Sweden), Poster session – Improvement Science, Poster Session – Infection (Me), Alfred Biehler (Google).