Pursuing Perfection: Raising the Bar for Health Care Performance

Pursuing Perfection: Raising the Bar for Health Care Performance—a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF)—supported efforts by seven health care organizations to dramatically improve their care processes and patient outcomes. It ran from 2001 to 2008.

The purpose of the initiative—the Foundation's most ambitious quality improvement effort up to that time—was not just to improve the performance of the seven participating health care institutions but also to demonstrate to the broader provider community that ideal care is attainable.

The funded sites—four hospitals and three organizations predominantly outpatient in focus—implemented a series of projects aimed at redesigning condition-specific processes of care and units of operation.

The goal was to use the projects to spread improvement and build capacity to the point that the organization was providing ideal care to all patients—a point termed organizational transformation.

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), which served as the national program office for Pursuing Perfection, reported that most of the seven grantee organizations made "tremendous progress" in improving the quality of their care. The organizations transitioned from "devoted but average performers" to national leaders in health care improvement. However, none of the seven reached the program's ultimate goal of organizational transformation to a fundamentally new health care model.

Lessons learned from Pursuing Perfection also informed new efforts by IHI to improve patient safety and care.