Academic Medicine

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Academic Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e318217d25a
Graduate Medical Education

Residents' Reflections on Quality Improvement: Temporal Stability and Associations With Preventability of Adverse Patient Events

Wittich, Christopher M. MD, PharmD; Reed, Darcy A. MD, MPH; Drefahl, Monica M. MD; McDonald, Furman S. MD, MPH; Thomas, Kris G. MD; Halvorsen, Andrew J. MS; Beckman, Thomas J. MD

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Purpose: Residents' reflections on quality improvement (QI) opportunities are poorly understood. The authors used the Mayo Evaluation of Reflection on Improvement Tool (MERIT) to measure residents' reflection scores across three years and to determine associations between reflection scores and resident and adverse patient event characteristics.

Method: From 2006 to 2009, 48 Mayo Clinic internal medicine residents completed biannual reflections on adverse events and classified event severity and preventability. Faculty assessed residents' reflections using MERIT, which contains 18 Likert-scaled items and measures three factors—personal reflection, systems reflection, and event merit. ANOVA was used to identify changes in MERIT scores across three years of training and among factors, paired t tests were used to identify differences between MERIT factor scores, and generalized estimating equations were used to examine associations between MERIT scores and resident and adverse event characteristics.

Results: The residents completed 240 reflections. MERIT reflection scores were stable over time. Individual factor scores differed significantly (P < .0001), with event merit being the highest and systems reflection the lowest. Event preventability was significantly associated with MERIT factor scores and overall scores (beta = 0.415; CI = 0.186–0.643; P = .0004). No significant associations between MERIT scores and resident characteristics or event severity were identified.

Conclusions: Residents' reflections on adverse events remained constant over time, were lowest for systems factors, and were associated with adverse event preventability. Future research should explore learners' emphasis on systems aspects of QI and the relationship between QI and event preventability.

© 2011 Association of American Medical Colleges


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