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Quality Improvement, Patient Safety & Leadership


The Quality Improvement, Patient Safety and Leadership Distinction Pathway aims to provide a focused, hands-on, and practical experience to internal medicine residents for them to understand the practical application of improvement science in health care and learn to effectively lead teams for change. This skill building is accomplished through combination of independent self-study, educational sessions and participation in a mentored longitudinal quality improvement project..

QI and patient safety skills are highly sought-after in healthcare. The ability to execute successful change initiatives, lead teams and understand and improve from adverse events or patient safety concerns are desirable and translatable skills that can be applied across a career, whether it be at the bedside or in any number of leadership positions, However, many trainees opt not to pursue training in these areas due to a number of barriers. During residency years, there is often limited structured time for longitudinal training in quality improvement (QI)it can be challenging to independently navigate QI opportunities to find projects of interest or promise of success. Furthermore there is often a lack of structured mentorship which may increase frustration, discouragement and ultimately disengagement with QI.

This distinction pathway is designed to improve access to the effective, experiential learning needed to grow a trainee’s skills in quality improvement and patient safety. Participants will become part of an inclusive, supportive community that is reflective of the environment for which QI is practiced. The goal is for QIPSL pathway graduates to feel confident in their abilities to lead change initiatives and effective teams on any level, from single sites to health system-wide improvements.

Distinction Domains

QI Education:

The QI education sets the knowledge base to start a practical journey in health systems improvement science. Through self-study, residents obtain the “Basic Certificate in QI and Patient Safety” through the IHI’s (Institute for Healthcare Improvement) Open School. Additionally, residents also participate in the annual fall QI Boot Camp and the distinction specific bi-monthly evening educational sessions.

Engagement in QI activities:

In this experiential educational component of the distinction, residents get to apply their IHI methodology learned through self-study and QI Boot Camp by participating in a mentored QI project where frequent mentor check-ins and project feedback in real-time help solidify the key principles of implementing change.

Engagement with Leadership:

Effective leadership is paramount in effecting change. During the distinction sessions, residents will learn the key skills necessary to lead teams for change. A combination of evening sessions and optional opportunities to interact with health-system QI leadership (those involved with large scale, health-system wide change and/or are deeply involved with ensuring patient safety for the health-system) will provide QIPSL participants with the exposure to a larger QI network and help foster leadership skills translatable to any area of their career.

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Naseema Merchant, FCCP, FACP, FHM, MBBS