Quality Improvement

Faculty development in teaching and application of quality improvement techniques in education, health care and patient safety.

Note: From within the University system, direct links to USA Biomedical electronic resources within this site are supported by Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer 10 or higher. Otherwise, you may access ClinicalKey via the USA Biomedical Library using your USAonline user ID and password for login. When accessing some links from outside of the University system, you may need to use the USA Biomedical Library's ClinicalKey and journal search engine using your USAonline user ID and password for login.


Faculty Development at USA

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The Innovation in Learning Center provides professional development workshops for all USA faculty members and promotes coordinated professional development initiatives and integrated instructional technologies for the traditional classroom, blended courses, and fully online learning environments. Workshops can be provided for groups at USAMC, USACW, and USAMCI. Contact Joyce Guest to arrange an onsite workshop. Selected workshops are listed below.

Quality Matters

Want to learn how to make your online course the best it can possibly be?  This workshop introduces the Quality Matters Rubric that you can use in your own courses. You can also learn more about how to become a QM peer reviewer.  


Online Faculty Development

Institute for Healthcare Improvement Open School

The institute for Healthcare Improvement's Open School provides online modules on the topics of quality improvement, patient safety, and graduate medical education. USA IHI.png

The USA Health System has adopted the framework of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) for quality and performance projects, including the Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) improvement cycle. Before physicians are able to participate in quality improvement efforts in the USA Health System, they must have an understanding of the framework and language of quality improvement. To facilitate this understanding, completion of the first three modules in the IHI's Improvement Capability quality improvement modules are required to participate in USA Health System projects. Instruction in quality improvement is free for all faculty members, residents, and fellows via IHI's Open School.

Online Quality Improvement Education

The IHI's online Open School courses are free for students, medical residents, and university faculty. To gain access to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement's Open School, register here.

  1. Complete your user profile (accessed via the myIHI tab) by selecting “School – Medicine” as your organization type and “Teacher/Professor”, “Intern or Resident” or “Student” for your primary role. Fellows should select the "Intern or Resident" option.
  2. Once you have registered, you can navigate to the courses here.
  3. Complete the three required modules under Improved Capability below, which provide a basic understanding of quality improvement. Faculty should provide their department with a copy of the completion certificates for these three modules.
    Improvement Capability

        QI 101: Fundamentals of Improvement
        QI 102: The Model for Improvement: Your Engine for Change
        QI 103: Measuring for Improvement

The courses may be accessed via mobile device with IHI Open School apps once you are registered. Faculty can obtain CME for completed modules.

In addition to the above IHI modules on quality improvement, the online Open School provides many other online modules which cover relevant content. For example, in the IHI Patient Safety series the first lesson in Fundamentals of Patient Safety (PS 101) covers the concept of the "Swiss cheese model of system failure" and lesson 2 in Root Cause and Systems Analysis (PS 104) covers "How a Root Cause Analysis Works". These are important concepts which provide understanding of the tools used in the modern health care system. While only the first three  quality improvement modules in the Improvement Capability set are required, faculty members, fellows, residents, and staff are expected to have a working knowledge of quality improvement techniques, and additional education may be required to achieve this level of understanding. 

Online Quality Improvement Faculty Development

In addition to the education on quality improvement, IHI offers a series of seven online modules that are dedicated to teaching faculty members how to teach residents, students, and fellows as follows: 

    Graduate Medical Education

GME 1: Why Engage Trainees in Quality and Safety?
GME 2: A Guide to the Clinical Learning Environment Review (CLER) Program
GME 3: The Faculty Role: Understanding & Modeling Fundamentals of Quality & Safety
GME 4: The Role of Didactic Learning in Quality Improvement
GME 5: A Roadmap for Facilitating Experiential Learning in Quality Improvement
GME 6: Aligning Graduate Medical Education with Organizational Quality & Safety Goals
GME 7: Faculty Advisor Guide to the IHI Open School Quality Improvement Practicum


Coursera is an education platform that partners with top universities and organizations worldwide, to offer courses online for anyone to take.

Take the Lead on Healthcare Quality Improvement

Course Description: "This course presents the concepts and processes of quality improvement (QI) and the importance of QI in improving patient outcomes. Its aim is to enhance the competence of working health care professionals to lead and participate in interprofessional health care teams that are focused on quality improvement."

Conversations that Inspire: Coaching Learning, Leadership and Change

Course Description: "Coaching can inspire and motivate people to learn, change and be effective leaders, among other roles in life. Although most attempts are “coaching for compliance” (coaching someone to your wishes or expectations), decades of behavioral and neuroscience research show us that “coaching with compassion” (coaching someone to their dreams and desires) is more effective." 

Fixing Healthcare Delivery

Course Description: "Isn’t it time to end the loss of life from preventable medical errors? Each year 100,000 patients die from preventable errors in the U.S. How can you help to change this intractable problem? Knowledge is power, and this course will provide you with a deep understanding of the problems and the solutions. You can become part of the solution."

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The Online Learning Consortium (OLC) is devoted to advancing quality online learning by providing professional development, instruction, best practice publications and guidance to educators, online learning professionals and organizations around the world.

Strategies for Improvement: Quality Scorecard

Course Description: "The OLC Quality Scorecard is a tool for online administrators to measure the quantifying elements of quality within online education programs in higher education. In this workshop you will get an overview of the OLC Quality Scorecard, explore how the OLC Quality Scorecard can be implemented in your institution and evaluate your institution based on a few chosen quality indicators from the OLC Quality Scorecard. This introductory workshop provides basic information on the OLC Quality Scorecard for the Administration of Online Programs. This workshop will also highlight the newest version of the scorecard which has 75 indicators organized into 9 categories."

Managing Faculty Workload

Course Description: "While online faculty value the flexibility of online teaching, the reality of the 24/7 classroom can be daunting in terms of faculty workload and faculty burnout. In this workshop, you will explore research-based strategies to assist faculty in managing their time more effectively and reducing the risk of burnout. You will review practical workload management tips and tools for both new and veteran faculty. Finally, you will develop a workload management plan that will help improve the online faculty experience."


Resources at USA


The USA Biomedical Library provides free online access to the following textbooks:

Applying Quality Management in Healthcare: A Process for Improvement

Diane L Kelly, 2011

In today's era of increased accountability for quality of care, all health care managers must be fluent in the concepts and tools of quality management. Applying Quality Management in Healthcare: A Process for Improvement clearly explains the basics of performance excellence and provides a set of tools for managing health care quality. Although it covers the fundamentals, it moves beyond old methods and provides an integrated approach to tackling the quality challenges inherent in health care. A practical guide, this book is loaded with real-world examples that will help readers quickly master new concepts.

Selected Chapters

The USA Biomedical Library provides free online access to the following textbook chapters:

Systems of Health Care

Clyde W. Yancy, Christopher B. Granger and Graham Nichol
Cardiovascular Therapeutics: A Companion to Braunwald's Heart Disease, Chapter 5, 67-74.

A trusted companion to Braunwald's Heart Disease, Cardiovascular Therapeutics, 4th Edition addresses pharmacological, interventional, and surgical management approaches for each type of cardiovascular disease. This practical and clinically focused cardiology reference offers a balanced, complete approach to all of the usual and unusual areas of cardiovascular disease and specific therapies in one concise volume, equipping you to make the best choices for every patient.


The USA Biomedical Library provides free online access to the following journals:

American Journal of Medical Quality

Peer-reviewed bi-monthly journal for "those practicing, conducting research, and teaching in the field of clinical quality improvement".


BMJ Quality & Safety

(formerly Quality & Safety in Health Care)
International peer-reviewed journal for "research, opinions, debates and reviews for academics, clinicians and health care managers focused on the quality and safety of health care and the science of improvement".


International Journal for Quality in Health Care

International peer-reviewed journal for "research, policy, and implementation related to the quality of health care and health outcomes for populations and patients worldwide".


Selected Journal Articles

Designing Education to Improve Care

The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, January 2012

Effectiveness of Teaching Quality Improvement to Clinicians

JAMA, September 5, 2007

Quality Improvement in Medical Education

Medical Education, 2012

Use of the Quality Improvement Knowledge Application (QIKAT) in Pediatric Resident Education

Journal of Graduate Medical Education, June 2014


Online Resources


A resource from the Associate of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) for publication and dissemination of peer-reviewed works related to medical education and resources for educational scholarship.

Utilizing a Health System's Resources to Improve Training in Quality Improvement for Its 22 Residency Training Programs


Training residents to improve clinical quality, safety, and efficacy is important both to prepare residents for independent practice and to engage residents in improving care now. However, interviews with leads in each of our institution's 22 residency programs found that the substantial majority of programs did not provide systematic didactic training with project experience.

Training Faculty to do Patient Safety Assessment is Transformative


ACGME’s competencies, safety theory, and human factors engineering concepts were used to develop a 4-station baseline assessment of patient safety knowledge and skills. An example of learning objectives assessed included:  “ability to detect design features that make adverse events more likely” and “ability to professionally assert the need for help”. 


MERLOT is a free, open, peer-reviewed collection of online teaching and learning materials and faculty-developed services, contributed and used by an international education community.

Quality Matters

The Quality Matters Program (QM) is an international organization representing broad inter-institutional collaboration and a shared understanding of online course quality. QM's quality assurance processes have been developed to improve and certify the design of online and blended courses.

Using electronic health records for better care (Free webinar via Stanford University)


In the era of Electronic Health Records, it’s possible to examine the decision outcomes made by doctors and identify patterns of care by generating evidence from the collective experience of patients. Stanford Assistant Professor Nigam Shah will show you methods that transform unstructured patient notes into a de-identified, temporally ordered, patient-feature matrix. Four use-cases will be examined, which use the resulting de-identified data matrix to illustrate the learning of practice-based evidence from unstructured data in electronic medical records.  This webinar will teach you the practical value of:

  • Monitoring for adverse drug events
  • Identifying drug-drug interactions
  • Profiling the safety of off-label drug usage
  • Generating practice-based evidence for difficult-to-test clinical hypotheses.


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Graduate Medical Education

2451 USA Medical Center Drive, Mastin 212, Mobile, AL 36617  
Phone 251.471.7206  •  Fax 251.471.7875

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