Kevin Hardy attended the APAC Forum on Quality Improvement in Health from the 19th-21st September in Auckland, New Zealand. He took away a great deal and was inspired by the content and speakers. He shares his thoughts with us.

The theme of the Forum was “Where there’s a spark there’s a way forward”. Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) and Ko Awatea

Over 900 people from 16 nations come together to imagine and ignite new ideas, to shape the future of healthcare through stories, experiences and shared learning. This was a powerful coming together of committed health leaders wanting to change the world so it could not change back.

An attitude of ‘what if’ prevailed. The opportunity to risk and learn was embraced. In fact, it quickly became a “market place bazaar” of ideas and imagination.

When I was walking to the Forum I saw a quote on a wall attributed to the New Zealand physicist, Ernest Rutherford -“We’ve got no (more) money, so we’ve got to think.” I thought to myself, what an omen to take to the Forum; to think laterally and creatively, to be innovative and alert for new ways. Whilst I looked at the Forum through a leadership lens others were looking through a clinical lens; we were all there, however, to bring the world a little closer together under the banner of quality.

What did I like best? I would have to admit that the keynote addresses by Professor Donald Berwick and Sir Muir Gray have stayed with me, as did the session by Dr Lynne Maher in which she talked about the dimensions of culture that support innovation and the action that can be taken to enhance a culture of innovation.

Donald Berwick said that the 21st century is the era of the whole system and we are actively searching for connectivity and are linking up. His “take home” messages were that cost is moving from volume to quality; reliability is critical; patients are being empowered to design care; measurement is important; teach servant leadership and interdependence.

Sir Muir Gray spoke about the future of health care and asked us to plan, imagine and build. To be successful we have to focus on value, change the culture, build population based systems, and engage patients and the community.


Dr Lynne Maher
emphasised that the most successful organisations are those that encourage every employee to innovate, and then reward them for doing so. And, we need the leadership to support and encourage that and to create the conditions for it to occur.

What were my ‘take home’ messages from the Forum?

  • All teach all learn
  • Look at value from the patient perspective
  • Hope is not a plan
  • No one part of the system has the solution and the way to do more is to do less
  • Get serious about data and feedback systems
  • Get goals, get bold, get together, get a model, get patients and families, get the facts, get to the field, get a clock, get the numbers, get the stories
  • We have a moral imperative to provide safe care
  • Do you know how good your care is? Do you know where you stand relative to others? Do you know where the variation exists? Are you getting better?
  • Thinking differently is a three step process – stop before you start; generate ideas; select and test ideas
  • Brave leadership, clinical engagement, and, continuous investment in innovation is essential

I look forward to the third Forum in 2013 and encourage people to take the time to think, engage, and connect. Next year will be a larger forum so the better the opportunity to learn and change the world!!