June 16, 2022 Episode 043

You Can’t Improve If You Don’t Measure: IHI CEO Dr. Kedar Mate Talks Care Quality

President and CEO at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Dr. Kedar Mate, shares how his organization uses improvement science to advance and sustain better outcomes in health and health care across the world.

You Can’t Improve If You Don’t Measure: IHI CEO Dr. Kedar Mate Talks Care Quality

At the beginning of the pandemic when nursing homes were a hotbed for COVID-19 infections and many untimely deaths, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) began hosting daily phone calls where hundreds of facilities joined to quickly get and share information that would improve their response. It led to a larger project over the next year that included every nursing home in the country sharing knowledge and information, and is an excellent example of how IHI achieves its mission of helping to improve quality and outcomes by learning and teaching best practices.

IHI was founded more than 30 years ago to improve the safety and quality of healthcare by studying how leading companies in other industries systematize processes to apply learnings across the healthcare ecosystem. Don Berwick, IHI’s founder, and Maureen Bisognano, president emerita, talked about the genesis of the organization as guests on the Healthcare is Hard podcast in February 2019. Since July 2020, the organization has been led by our guest for this episode: IHI’s current president and CEO, Dr. Kedar Mate.

In this episode, Dr. Mate talked to Keith Figlioli about his background as an Indian-American and how time spent in his youth traveling between both countries helped drive him towards a career dedicated to addressing health related injustice and inequities. They discuss many facets of the work he’s doing at IHI including:

  • Questioning IHI’s relevance. After three decades of measurable success working towards its mission, one of Dr. Mate’s first decisions as IHI’s new CEO was to audit the organization and its relevance in a rapidly-evolving healthcare landscape. He describes three core value propositions – the organization’s methods, ability to inspire, and quest for driving results at scale – and how they apply today.
  • Teaching – and learning – globally. With so many challenges around quality, outcomes and costs to overcome in the U.S. healthcare system alone, Dr. Mate talks about why IHI has chosen a broader, global focus. Much like the organization’s mission of bringing knowledge from other industries into healthcare, its involvement in healthcare delivery around the world enables it to identify and share strategies that are working across healthcare economies.
  • Measuring outcomes vs. process. Dr. Mate shares his belief about the current flaws in measuring care quality. He talks about how outcome-based measurement is underrepresented in favor of process-based measurement, and how the industry has a tendency to continue creating new measures without sunsetting old ones. He also shares the important reminder that measurement itself is not the objective, and that we must not lose sight of giving organizations tools and methods so they can actually change their measures and create better results.
  • Quality and new care delivery. With new sites of care and options for virtual care continuing to grow, Dr. Mate and Keith talk about the role quality measurements will plan in the future of healthcare. They discuss the imperative for setting standards and measurements for virtual care and technology-enabled services, and how quality can become the major differentiator when there are no limitations on geographic boundaries.

To hear Dr. Mate and Keith talk about these topics and more, listen to this episode of Healthcare is Hard: A Podcast for Insiders.