A Multidisciplinary Self-Directed Learning Module Improves Knowledge of a Quality Improvement Instrument: The HEART Pathway

J Healthc Qual. 2018 Jan/Feb;40(1):e9-e14. doi: 10.1097/JHQ.0000000000000044.


We created and tested an educational intervention to support implementation of an institution wide QI project (the HEART Pathway) designed to improve care for patients with acute chest pain. Although online learning modules have been shown effective in imparting knowledge regarding QI projects, it is unknown whether these modules are effective across specialties and healthcare professions. Participants, including nurses, advanced practice clinicians, house staff and attending physicians (N = 486), were enrolled into an online, self-directed learning course exploring the key concepts of the HEART Pathway. The module was completed by 97% of enrollees (469/486) and 90% passed on the first attempt (422/469). Out of 469 learners, 323 completed the pretest, learning module and posttest in the correct order. Mean test scores across learners improved significantly from 74% to 89% from the pretest to the posttest. Following the intervention, the HEART Pathway was used for 88% of patients presenting to our institution with acute chest pain. Our data demonstrate that this online, self-directed learning module can improve knowledge of the HEART Pathway across specialties-paving the way for more efficient and informed care for acute chest pain patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease / nursing*
  • Adult
  • Certification*
  • Chest Pain / nursing*
  • Education, Distance / methods*
  • Female
  • Health Personnel / education*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • North Carolina
  • Quality Improvement / organization & administration*
  • Self-Directed Learning as Topic*