Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics


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Teaching quality and safety scholarship during medical school
A Scholarly Pathway in Quality Improvement and Patient Safety.
A Ferguson CC et al. Academic Medicine 2015;90(10)1358-62.

Reviewed by Alison Volpe Holmes

What was the study question?
Can a longitudinal medical student curriculum in quality improvement and patient safety be successfully incorporated into the undergraduate medical school curriculum?

How was the study done?
Faculty at the Medical College of Wisconsin developed and implemented a curriculum in quality improvement and patient safety (QuIPS) as one of six selective “scholarly pathway” options for a three-hour per week longitudinal experience spanning three years, beginning in fall 2012.

What were the results?
Year one topics include human factors science and error, process mapping, and multidisciplinary teamwork and communication. Year two covers adverse events and root cause analysis, improvement approaches and techniques, and resilience/burnout prevention. In year three, more advanced topics such as the Dartmouth Atlas, variation, supply sensitive care, overdiagnosis, the SQUIRE guidelines, and proper application of statistical process control methods are incorporated as students complete longitudinal projects as members of real QI teams functioning in clinical settings. To date, 17 student projects have been completed, including three that were presented at international meetings, and one publication in a peer reviewed journal. 80% of students rated the experience as “outstanding” or “very good”.

What are the implications of these results?
Curricula in clinical quality improvement are now required in accredited residency programs, and QI practice is required for maintenance of certification for practicing physicians. The MCW students who completed QuIPS will not only be able to participate in teams as trained experts when they begin residency, but are additionally prepared to contribute to QI and safety science as scholars. When developing focused tracks for students to longitudinally pursue areas of interest such as research, teaching, or global health, there is now a model for developing expertise in quality improvement and patient safety during undergraduate medical education.

Editor’s note: Now the trick will be to find a way for all students to participate in these sorts of activities (RR).

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