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UTHSC Launches Patient Safety/Quality Improvement Curriculum


The UTHSC College of Medicine is launching a new curriculum offering entitled, “Patient Safety and Quality Improvement” clerkship and making it a requirement for the class of 2006.

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) College of Medicine is launching a new curriculum offering entitled, “Patient Safety and Quality Improvement” clerkship and making it a requirement for the class of 2006.

UTHSC was among a charter group of schools that formed a collaborative through the support of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. Starting with meetings on May 4 and 5, nursing and pharmacy schools nationally are joining medical schools to address IHI’s mission to incorporate quality principles espoused by the Institute of Medicine into the health professions’ curricula. Restructuring clinical education to be consistent with the principles of the 21st century health system was also a key recommendation of the Institute of Medicine Report, “Crossing the Quality Chasm,” published in 2003.

“This initiative will ensure that our graduates can take a leadership role in improving the quality of patient care in the communities in which they practice,” said Henry Herrod, MD, dean of the UT College of Medicine. “We want our students to have the tools to more systematically improve the quality of care they will provide for their patients when they become practitioners.”

Richard D. Peppler, PhD, associate dean of Academic and Faculty Affairs in the College of Medicine, said, “We anticipate that students from other colleges, such as nursing and pharmacy, will participate in the curriculum through the Inter-professional Health Practice course under development.”

On April 20, students received instruction on making the case for quality: quality in action, the role of physicians in quality improvement, the basics of how to do quality improvement, and examples of quality improvement projects. The quality principles focus on: safety, timeliness, efficient care, effective care, equitable care, and patient-centered care. Students can either choose to join a patient safety or quality improvement project already underway in the University Medical Center, or create their own project. They may work on this project throughout their fourth year, or devote a month during their last year.

Guiding the clerkship are Joe Duhig, who joined the University Medical Center Alliance from the world renowned Juran Institute; David Schlappy, vice president for Quality Management at Le Bonheur Children’s Medical Center; Kristine M. Lohr, MD, associate dean for Outcomes Research and Improvement (UTHSC); and Dr. Peppler. A team of students, faculty and deans from medicine created the course which stresses the importance of inter-professional practice.

Dr. Lohr commented, “This clerkship is evidence of the importance UTHSC leaders and faculty place on the quality of healthcare we provide our patients. What is especially exciting is that healthcare professionals from most of the major medical research hospitals in the state have volunteered their time as coaches and teammates for this innovative initiative. This is a true inter-professional effort among UTHSC, Methodist University Hospital, the Regional Medical Center at Memphis (The MED), HealthLoop, LeBonheur Children’s Medical Center, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Veterans Affairs Medical Center