Simulating for Quality: A Centralized Quality Improvement and Patient Safety Simulation Curriculum for Residents and Fellows

Acad Med. 2022 Apr 1;97(4):529-535. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000004424.


Problem: Requirements for experiential education in quality improvement and patient safety (QI/PS) in graduate medical education (GME) have recently expanded. Major challenges to meeting these requirements include a lack of faculty with the needed expertise, paucity of standardized curricular models allowing for skill demonstration, and inconsistent access to data for iterative improvement.

Approach: In October 2017, the authors began development of a centralized QI/PS flipped-classroom simulation-based medical education (SBME) curriculum for GME trainees across multiple disciplines at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). The curriculum development team included OHSU and Veterans Affairs faculty with experience in QI/PS and SBME, as well as house officers. The curriculum consisted of a preassessment and prework readings and videos (sent 3 weeks before the simulation day) and an 8-hour simulation day, with introductory activities, 4 linked simulation sessions, and concluding activities. The 4 linked sessions followed the same medication error from disclosure and reporting to root cause analysis, iterative implementation of an action plan, and consolidation of lessons learned into routine operations with Lean huddles.

Outcomes: In academic year 2018-2019, 71 residents and fellows of various postgraduate years from 23 training programs enrolled in 2 pilot sessions. Learners reacted favorably to the simulation curriculum. Learner attitudes, confidence, knowledge, and skills significantly increased across all QI/PS domains studied.

Next steps: This approach focuses a small cadre of educators toward the creation of a centralized resource that, owing to its experiential SBME foundation, can accommodate many learners with data-driven practice-based learning and improvement cycles in a shorter time frame than traditional QI initiatives. Next steps include the addition of a control group, assessment of the sustainability of learner outcomes, translation of learning to behavior change and improvements in patient and health system outcomes, and adapting the materials to include learners from different professions and levels.

MeSH terms

  • Curriculum
  • Education, Medical, Graduate
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Patient Safety
  • Quality Improvement*