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Am J Med Qual. 2008 Jul-Aug;23(4):296-301. doi: 10.1177/1062860608317764.

Teaching quality improvement: a collaboration project between medicine and engineering.

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Division of Preventive Occupational and Aerospace Medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.


Systems failures and their impact on quality and cost have fueled the need for a paradigm shift in medical education. Despite a growing interest in health care quality improvement (QI), few physician educators possess the necessary expertise in either systems engineering or QI. In this article, we describe a novel teaching partnership between engineers and physicians in implementing a 3-week elective QI training curriculum on health care QI. Nine learners, 2 preventive medicine and 7 endocrinology fellows, participated in this rotation. Key concepts taught by the 4 engineering faculty include stake-holder analysis, root cause analysis, process mapping, failure mode and effects analysis, resource management, negotiation, and leadership. Learner scores on the QI knowledge application tool improved significantly (P < .004) from 7.33 prerotation to 11.89 postrotation. Further research is necessary to study the effectiveness, efficacy, and scope of using engineering expertise in QI education initiatives.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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