Evaluation of a Quality Improvement Curriculum for Family Medicine Residents

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BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: East Tennessee State University’s (ETSU) Department of Family Medicine initiated Quality Improvement (QI) training in its three residency programs in 2008. The purpose of the project was to develop, implement, and assess a formal curriculum and experiential learning process to train family medicine residents in QI knowledge and skills. METHODS: Family medicine faculty members received training in QI theory and design. Rising second-year residents received a daylong workshop on the basics of QI principles. Residents worked in teams to develop and implement QI projects. Self-assessed QI proficiency was measured prior to and immediately following the workshop. QI knowledge was assessed with the Quality Improvement Knowledge Application Tool (QIKAT) at baseline and following project completion. RESULTS: Two groups of residents (n=37) received training and completed at least 1 year on their projects. Analyses revealed that residents’ self-assessed QI proficiency improved after receiving a day-long training workshop and was consistent for both groups of resident training. Application of QI knowledge as assessed by the QIKAT did not improve following QI project participation in resident Group 1 but did improve in resident Group 2. CONCLUSIONS: A formal QI curriculum was successfully developed and implemented into three family medicine residency programs. Residents’ QI knowledge and skills improved following training and experience conducting QI projects. Faculty and resident commitment to the program and competing time demands proved challenging to the introduction of QI training. Future studies should assess residents’ sustained learning and translating QI residency experiences into practice.