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A Paradigm Shift Toward Systemwide Quality Improvement Education: Meeting the Needs of a Rapidly Changing Health Care Environment Meeting the Needs of a Rapidly Changing Health care Environment

Brownlee, Katherine MPM; Minnier, Tamra E. MSN, RN; Martin, Susan Christie MSN, RN; Greenhouse, Pamela K. MBA

Quality Management in Health Care: January/March 2013 - Volume 22 - Issue 1 - p 25–35
doi: 10.1097/QMH.0b013e31827deaaa
Original Articles

Background: Widespread changes in the health care landscape require a paradigm shift from an educational model where quality improvement (QI) expertise is centralized to a model where foundational and functional QI knowledge is widespread through all levels of a health care organization.

Methods: To support a new educational structure prioritizing QI education as a stand-alone priority, a 6-month educational course was introduced for operational leaders (requiring completion of a real-life improvement project) and a second, introductory QI education set of 5 stand-alone classes was introduced for managers and frontline staff; the latter is provided at centralized sites, on-site, and via webinars. Additional QI courses have been introduced for board members.

Results: Sixty operational leaders attended the first 2 offerings of the 6-month course and completed 50 associated QI projects, as of July 2012; nearly 1500 participants have attended the “Just-in-Time” classes, representing 13 University of Pittsburgh Medical Center hospitals and affiliated facilities. Eighty-three percent of recent participants rated the 6-month course a 4 or 5 in terms of efficacy. Two-thirds of participants from both 6-month series reported that they continued to work on their project once the class was over.

Discussion: The number of course attendees and their feedback regarding efficacy of this educational approach, as well as the volume of associated completed projects, indicate success in providing greater numbers of staff at all levels of the organization with QI education and tools. This educational format shows promise for further refinement and replicability.

Donald D. Wolff Jr. Center for Quality, Safety & Innovation at UPMC (Mss Brownlee and Martin); University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (Ms Minnier), Pamela Greenhouse Associates (Ms Greenhouse); and PFCC Innovation Center at UPMC (Ms Greenhouse), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Correspondence: Katherine Brownlee, MPM, Donald D. Wolff Jr. Center for Quality, Safety & Innovation at UPMC, 4601 Baum Blvd, 2nd Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15213 (

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

©2013Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.