Background: An eight-hour workshop was conducted at a professional meeting in 1996 to introduce medical faculty to the principles of continuous quality improvement (CQI) as they relate to change in medical education and to provide participants with opportunities to use specific tools for applications to education. Four two-hour sessions focused on an introduction to CQI, understanding and mapping processes, identifying change ideas, and testing a change for improvement.
Testing a change for improvement: The goals of the final session were to plan a pilot test of an improvement, identify the steps of the plan-do-study-act (PDSA) cycle, and consider change for improvement in the context of one's own organization. Working in small groups, participants chose a specific change one might try in the following example: improving student performance in a neuroscience course. POSTSESSION EVALUATION AND FOLLOW-UP: Immediately following the workshop sessions, participants represented by administrators in medical education and clinical and basic science teaching faculty completed evaluations on the usefulness and likelihood of their using CQI tools. One year later, of the 32 workshop registrants who were mailed surveys, 15 respondents rated their change in understanding of CQI and their use of CQI techniques. More than 60% of the respondents reported application of CQI principles at their organizations. CQI methods used most frequently included structured team meetings, prioritizing opportunities, and brainstorming.
Conclusion: The significant application of CQI principles and methods reported by participants one year after a brief intervention supports a need and utility for CQI principles and tools in medical education.