Quality as a Business Strategy

Quality as a Business Strategy (QBS) is a leadership framework and set of activities to help organizations prepare to effectively participate in system transformation and continuous quality improvement. Quality as a Business Strategy was developed by the Associates in Process Improvement and based on the work of Dr. W.E. Deming, widely regarded as a pioneer of modern quality improvement.

The Health Quality Council facilitated the Quality as a Business Strategy content as a Learning Collaborative for senior leaders within the health care system in Saskatchewan, from October 2008 to September 2010. This leadership program brought together over 200 senior leaders and board members from 31 teams from across Saskatchewan’s health system. Here, leaders learned how to integrate management for quality into their organizations. The Collaborative also served as a forum for crucial conversations about what it meant to operate as one system and how this shift in thinking could improve patient outcomes. The outcomes of this work led to the creation of the first common Strategic Intent as a system – that is still used today – including the ambition to “think and act as one.”  This ambition spurred the recognition of the need for a provincially coordinated approach to offer high-quality health care to the residents of Saskatchewan.

Quality as a Business Strategy also created the opportunity for health system leaders to hear from other high-performing health care systems including representatives from Jönköping County Council in Sweden and Alaska’s Southcentral Foundation.

What is a Collaborative?

A Collaborative is an improvement methodology or learn-by-doing approach to quality improvement. A Collaborative is a focused effort, over a focused period of time, across multiple teams to multiply the learning and improvement. It brings together practitioners from various disciplines and multiple sites to learn and share ideas on improving their practices, based on evidence-based research. Collaboratives involve a combination of theory and hands-on practice that help participants work to address challenges in their work environments while also building capacity for quality improvement methodology. Collaboratives have been around since the 1980s and used to target complex, large-scale changes across a variety of organizations across the world. While there are many variations of a Collaborative approach, typically they all share the same key elements: shared goals, shared measures, and shared learning.

Organizations that participated in Quality as a Business Strategy