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J Contin Educ Health Prof. 2018 Oct 29. doi: 10.1097/CEH.0000000000000226. [Epub ahead of print]

Bridging Continuing Medical Education and Quality Improvement Efforts: A Qualitative Study on a Health Care System in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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Dr. Alsabban: Medical Education Consultant, Perioperative Medicine Administration, King Abdullah Medical City, Makkah, Saudi Arabia. Dr. Kitto: Professor, Department of Innovation in Medical Education, Director of Research, Office of Continuing Professional Development, Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions, and Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.



There have been initial efforts to link continuing medical education (CME), quality improvement (QI), and patient safety in North America. However, limited empirical research has been performed to characterize the relationship and integration between CME and QI/patient safety in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). To explore health care leaders' perceptions and experiences of collaboration between the CME department (CME-D) and the quality management administration (QMA), we conducted an exploratory qualitative study at a large governmental health care center named [blinded for peer review] in [blinded for peer review], KSA.


The health care managers at [blinded for peer review] were asked to identify their perception on the state of collaboration between the CME-D and QMA. Data collection, in the form of one-to-one semistructured interviews, was directed by an interview guide. Interviews were transcribed verbatim, and the participants' perspectives were analyzed thematically using a theoretical framework.


Fifteen participants were recruited: one top manager of the CME-D, three top managers from the QMA, seven representatives from the medical board, and four representatives from the executive board. Key findings of the interviews were the presence of some shared ad hoc goals between the CME-D and QMA. However, insufficiency of other collaborative factors reflected a "potential collaboration" (level 1) based on D'Amour's model of collaboration.


This is the first qualitative study to explore the perceptions and experiences of CME and QI health care managers on their collaboration at one of the largest health centers in the KSA. Further research should investigate the feasibility of implementing interventions to intensify collaboration between CME and QI.

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