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Sustainability of Partnership Projects: A Conceptual Framework and Checklist

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Background: There is growing recognition that the health care delivery system in the United States must make major changes. Intervention projects focusing on quality and patient safety offer the potential for reshaping the future of medicine. Sustainability of the Partnerships for Quality (PFQ) projects and other patient safety and qual- ity improvement projects that provide evidence of effec- tiveness is essential if progress is to be made.

Methods: For the purposes of these projects, a concep- tual framework and a checklist for sustainability were developed. The framework consists of two dimensions: (1) the goals—what is to be sustained—and (2) elements for sustainability—infrastructure, incentives, incremental opportunities for involvement, and integration. The checklist is designed to trigger planning for sustainability early in a project's design. Specific questions about each of the elements can cue planners and project leaders to build in the goals for sustainability and change processes.

Results:A pilot test showed that the framework and checklist are relevant and helpful across a variety of projects.

Discussion and Conclusion:Two extended examples of planning and action for sustainability from the PFQ projects are described. It is too early to claim sustainabili- ty for these projects. However, continued monitoring for at least three years with the checklist could result in valu- able national data with which to design and implement future projects.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2007

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  • Published monthly, The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety is a peer-reviewed publication dedicated to providing health professionals with the information they need to promote the quality and safety of health care. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety invites original manuscripts on the development, adaptation, and/or implementation of innovative thinking, strategies, and practices in improving quality and safety in health care. Case studies, program or project reports, reports of new methodologies or new applications of methodologies, research studies on the effectiveness of improvement interventions, and commentaries on issues and practices are all considered.

    David W. Baker, MD, MPH, FACP, executive vice president for the Division of Healthcare Quality Evaluation at The Joint Commission, is the inaugural editor-in-chief of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.

    Also known as Joint Commission Journal on Quality Improvement and Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Safety
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