A framework for teaching medical students and residents about practice-based learning and improvement, synthesized from a literature review

Acad Med. 2003 Jul;78(7):748-56. doi: 10.1097/00001888-200307000-00019.


Purpose: To create a framework for teaching the knowledge and skills of practice-based learning and improvement to medical students and residents based on proven, effective strategies.

Method: The authors conducted a Medline search of English-language articles published between 1996 and May 2001, using the term "quality improvement" (QI), and cross-matched it with "medical education" and "health professions education." A thematic-synthesis method of review was used to compile the information from the articles. Based on the literature review, an expert panel recommended educational objectives for practice-based learning and improvement.

Results: Twenty-seven articles met the inclusion criteria. The majority of studies were conducted in academic medical centers and medical schools and 40% addressed experiential learning of QI. More than 75% were qualitative case reports capturing educational outcomes, and 7% included an experimental study design. The expert panel integrated data from the literature review with the Dreyfus model of professional skill acquisition, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement's (IHI) knowledge domains for improving health care, and the ACGME competencies and generated a framework of core educational objectives about teaching practice-based learning and improvement to medical students and residents.

Conclusion: Teaching the knowledge and skills of practice-based learning and improvement to medical students and residents is a necessary and important foundation for improving patient care. The authors present a framework of learning objectives-informed by the literature and synthesized by the expert panel-to assist educational leaders when integrating these objectives into a curriculum. This framework serves as a blueprint to bridge the gap between current knowledge and future practice needs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence*
  • Education, Medical / methods*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency / standards*
  • Problem-Based Learning*
  • Total Quality Management / methods*
  • United States