I think Quality Improvement (QI) can be defined as the dissecting of individual factors that add up to a problem and the fixing of specific factors which can result in change, which in turn can be quantified and improved upon.  This provides more sustainable solutions rather than settling for "quick-fixes".

That said, at the heart of every project must exist a genuine desire not only to help patients, but to also improve the working environment of the healthcare team. I feel that QI must be ingrained as part of our culture and not enforced on staff, just like how Hand Hygiene is a core responsibility and not something we do just to satisfy audits.   This is also a reason why I am involved in QI projects concerning IT systems, which, when designed poorly, adds to the workload of busy healthcare workers and in turn may affect patients downstream. This drives me to come up with user-friendly, fail-safe IT systems that can positively impact patients and healthcare workers at large.

These days, I challenge myself to solve the problems I encounter on a systemic level so that it benefits not just that one patient or staff, but all those who may find themselves in similar situations. To make this happen, I feel strongly that all SingHealth staff should be equipped with the right tools and skills, and feel empowered to make positive change in their respective areas of responsibilities.

Dr Li Weiquan James
Associate Consultant, 
Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Changi General Hospital

Dr Li is the winner of the Distinguished Young Leader Award at the SingHealth Excellence Awards 2018.

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