EPIDEM: A New Model for Quality Improvement in the Health Care System

A new quality improvement (QI) model called EPIDEM has the potential to revolutionise the health care industry. EPIDEM promotes a culture that prioritises quality and patient safety, can be used in conjunction with other QI tools and can be successfully implemented by staff who haven’t had any previous QI training.

The model was developed by Yaolin Zhou, MD, of the Department of Pathology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma, and it stands for:

  • Explore relevant issues and contextual factors
  • Promote to the right people
  • Implement timely solutions
  • Document steps
  • Evaluate with meaningful measures
  • Make Modifications to improve interventions further

“The EPIDEM model is a product of my thinking about quality improvement over the years and how to make QI more widespread, less intimidating, and adaptable for different people in different environments,” said Assistant Professor Zhou.

Within the health system, there are a range of quality improvement models that have been implemented with varying levels of success. Established QI models tend to share the following common features:

  • An emphasis on leadership and accountability
  • Strategies for eliminating cultural and other barriers to improvement
  • Clear goals
  • Metrics for identifying and analysing issues and the proposed solutions
  • An emphasis on stakeholders as participants in the improvement process
  • The use of structured processes for gradual improvement

The EPIDEM model is unique in that it emphasises the importance of understanding the local context, existing culture and available resources and how they affect the quality improvement process.

“I hope this new QI model will help facilitate an ‘EPIDEMic’ of quality improvement by providing a foundational framework to successfully implement quality improvement initiatives, whether in the home, the laboratory, or the community at large,” said Assistant Professor Zhou.

Health care professionals wanting to learn more about the EPIDEM model can view the original paper in the American Society for Clinical Pathology’s journal Lab Medicine: EPIDEM: A Model for Quality Improvement. Assistant Professor Zhou can be contacted for further details via email: [email protected].

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