at the crux of the issue of how rapidly quality improvement and quality improvement research will advance, Boat said.

The United States health care system is currently being threatened because it is not performing optimally, said Scott Hamlin, leader of the planning committee for the workshop. In every other industry, quality has been recognized as a necessity for value. We must understand what it is about health care that causes skepticism about whether the health care market can recognize quality and the rewards it brings so that we can capitalize on opportunities to strengthen the health care system.

During this workshop, experts were asked to discuss the business case from the perspectives of those actually making the business case, policy makers, and researchers. The planning committee’s statement of task for developing the workshop agenda was “to provide the forum with insight into the economic, public policy, and business disciplines that create a sustainable value proposition for aggressively pursuing quality improvement in the health care system and thereby stimulating meaningful research in this field.”

In summary, speakers indicated that a business case for quality improvement can indeed be made. Many examples of business cases from a variety of settings were provided, while recognizing that robust research is at the core of the business case for quality improvement. A strong research base and data depicting the impact of quality improvement are necessary to create a business case for quality improvement.

Throughout the workshop, common themes emerged. Making the right thing to do through systems change and leadership were recognized as necessary to improve quality of care delivery. Data and data transparency are also important for making health care more patient-centric. Speakers addressed funding as a key component of quality improvement and research on quality improvement due to the need to support the incorporation of health care innovations into practice. During the workshop, it was also noted that training must be enhanced to make research on quality improvement more robust. Finally, speakers discussed how the quality improvement and research communities must become better communicators and

frame, using a reasonable rate of discounting. This may be realized as bankable dollars (profit), a reduction in losses for a given program or population, or avoided costs. In addition, a business case may exist if the investing entity believes that a positive indirect effect on organizational function and sustainability will accrue within a reasonable time frame” (Leatherman et al., 2003).

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