The New Gastroenterologist

Q&A with DDW 2019 Advancing Clinical Practice: GI Fellow-Directed Quality Improvement Projects session abstract reviewers


The AGA Education & Training Committee sponsors a session during Digestive Disease Week® (DDW) entitled “Advancing Clinical Practice: GI Fellow-Directed Quality Improvement (QI) Projects.” Session participants are selected to give an oral or poster presentation of a quality improvement project they complete during fellowship. The QI project abstracts are peer reviewed and chosen by volunteers from the AGA Young Delegates. We asked several abstract reviewers from the 2019 session for advice on what makes an exceptional QI project and how to make an abstract stand out.

Mer Mietzelfeld of the American Gastroenterological Association, Bethesda, MD

Mer Mietzelfeld

This session will be held again during DDW 2020. Interested participants should submit their abstract to the DDW descriptor GI Fellow-Directed QI Session via the DDW abstract submission site between Oct. 17 and Dec. 1, 2019.

What are the top 3 things that make an exceptional QI project?

Mohammad Bilal, MD, fellow, advanced endoscopy
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Harvard Medical School in Boston

Dr. Mohammad Bilal, Beth Israel Deaconness, Boston

Dr. Mohammad Bilal

Quality improvement projects are essential to identify areas of improvement in a health care system/institution and to be able to improve them. The best kind of QI projects are those that lead to sustainable positive outcomes. This is not always easy and usually requires a multifocal intervention strategy. In my opinion, the top three things that make an exceptional QI project are:

1. A clear, focused, concise, realistic, and achievable “aim statement,” also known as a “SMART” (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant/Realistic, Time-Bound) aim statement.

2. A project that directly impacts patient-related outcomes.

3. A project that involves multiple members of the health care team in addition to physicians and patients, such as pharmacists, therapists, schedulers, or IT staff.

Chung Sang Tse, MD, gastroenterology fellow
Brown University Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, R.I.

Dr. Chung Sang Tse, Brown University Rhode Island Hospital, Providence

Dr. Chung Sang Tse

Some of the most impressive QI abstracts that stood out to my fellow cojudges and I were those that employed novel yet widely applicable solutions to common problems, along with empiric data to assess their effects. For example, one of the most highly rated abstracts was one that used an electronic order set to standardize the acute care of inflammatory bowel disease flare in the emergency department and measured the impact on treatment outcomes. Another memorable abstract tested the use of meditation (via an instructional soundtrack) in the endoscopy suite to assess its effect on sedation use, procedural time, and patient comfort; although the results in the abstract did not reach statistical significance, the reviewers rated this abstract favorably for its attempt to improve the endoscopy experience in a low-cost and replicable manner. For this QI category, the reviewers weighed most heavily on a study’s impact, the rigor of methodology, and novelty of the problem/solution.


Next Article: