Accreditation Q-Tip: Quality Improvement at WCH

By Chandra Farrer

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What is Quality Improvement?

Have you ever wondered if there is a better way? Have you ever reflected on whether your work is achieving its intended goals or outcomes? This is the seed of a quality improvement (QI) mindset! QI is a systematic approach to evaluating the performance of systems and processes and working towards improvements through small tests of change. The goal of our collective QI efforts is to fulfill our commitment to our patients, their care partners, and our communities to provide care and services that are safe, effective, equitable, patient-centred, efficient, and timely.

What is WCH’s Quality Framework?

Our NEW Quintuple Aim guides all of our work at Women’s College Hospital (WCH) and serves as the roadmap to operationalizing our vision for quality. The framework has evolved from the quadruple aim of achieving the best possible health outcomes, improving the patient and workforce experience, while realizing the best use of resources. The addition of an equity & accessibility lens helps to ensure we continuously work to identify barriers to access to quality care and address disparities in health outcomes based on any category of difference or their intersection. This work starts with an understanding of how non-medical determinants of health translate into health-based disparities and inequitable health outcomes in our communities.  Any attempt to sustainably address these disparities requires acknowledging the role that systemic exclusion plays in creating and perpetuating inequities and collaborating on policy solutions to facilitate equity and inclusion for all. Collect QTip here.

How is WCH Building Quality Improvement Capacity?

WCH supports the development of QI knowledge and skills in a variety of ways, such as Quality & Safety Boards, Quality Improvement Research Committee (QUIRC), Joan Lesmond Quality Excellence Award, Centre for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety (CQuIPS) partnership, and our Assessment Process for Quality Improvement Projects (APQIP).

The Centre for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety (CQuIPS) is a partnership between the University of Toronto’s Temerty Faculty of Medicine and three of its major teaching hospitals, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and Women’s College Hospital. As its newest partner, WCH is eager to support to the education, research, and organizational development efforts of CQuIPS. WCH boasts several core and affiliate CQuIPS members and in the past several years more than 15 WCH interdisciplinary team members have participated in formal QI training through CQuIPS programs.

Shawna Kelly, Nurse Practitioner in the Centre for Headache, is currently enrolled in the Certificate Course in Quality Improvement and Patients Safety at CQuIPS. “In my continued efforts to broaden my skills as a Nurse Practitioner, I was encouraged and supported to complete formal training in QI and patient safety. To date, the course has been thought provoking, challenging, and focused on developing the skills and knowledge to approach practical clinical questions in a focused and methodical way. As a clinician, I have always been interested in the why and how of medicine, however this course has expanded my thinking to the context in which we practice – why do we do it this way? What would happen if we tried it another way? What is the patient’s experience with this process? My CQuIPS journey is supported by my QI coach, who is based at WCH, which has been invaluable to the progress, and hopefully future success, of my QI project!”

How does WCH support Scholarly QI Work?

At WCH, scholarly QI endeavours are facilitated by a specialized review process, the Assessment Process for Quality Improvement Projects (APQIP). Designed for investigators focused on healthcare quality improvement, project design and evaluation (PDE), APQIP provides timely review of non-research knowledge generating work and facilitates dissemination of scholarly QI work through publication, presentations, and reports. In the last two years, more than 75 APQIP proposals have been submitted and approved, highlighting the prolific contributions of WCH to scholarly QI work.

Stay tuned for updates and features in the coming months. To learn more, visit the Quality Intranet Page or contact Chandra Farrer, Quality Specialist at

To learn more about Accreditation, visit the Accreditation Intranet Hub.