Karen Southard, Program Director for The Carolinas Center for Medical Excellence (CCME), HQIN’s quality improvement partner in South Carolina, has been a health care leader for almost 40 years.
- What inspired you to work in health care quality improvement?
As a nurse and health care leader for 38 years, I understand the importance of solid systems of care delivery but also purposeful communication to engage patients and families to meet their health care goals. I was inspired by the 1999 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, To Err is Human, which reflected on the many patient errors that could have been prevented. After reading the report, I embraced the rapid adoption of quality improvement and patient safety and became a champion in my practice and professional network.
- What excites you most about being part of HQIN?
The ability to work with other quality improvement experts and learn the unique ways that health care professionals in other states approach population health improvement efforts.
- What advice would you offer HQIN members as they prepare for their next quality improvement project?
My advice would be to use the data that HQIN provides to guide their decisions when choosing their projects. I would also tell them to listen to their own staff and patients to decide how to execute the actions.
- How do you enjoy spending your free time?
I like to hike the mountains of North Carolina and read the latest book club picks. But most of all, I enjoy spending time with family, friends and my two grandsons all of whom I’m excited to see when we no longer have to be socially distant.