Strategies for Developing and Recognizing Faculty Working in Quality Improvement and Patient Safety

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Academic clinical departments have the opportunity and responsibility to improve the quality and value of care and patient safety by supporting effective quality improvement activities. The pressure to provide high-value care while further developing academic programs has increased the complexity of decision making and change management in academic health systems. Overcoming these challenges will require faculty engagement and leadership; however, most academic departments do not have a sufficient number of individuals with expertise and experience in quality improvement and patient safety (QI/PS). Accordingly, the authors of this article advocate for a targeted and proactive approach to developing faculty working in QI/PS. They propose a strategy predicated on the identification of QI/PS as a strategic priority for academic departments, the creation of enabling resources in QI/PS, and the expansion of rigorous training programs in change management and in improvement and implementation sciences. Professional organizations, health systems, medical schools, and academic departments should recognize successful QI/PS work with awards and promotions. Individual faculty members should expand their collaborative networks, consider the generalizability and scholarly impact of their efforts when designing QI/PS initiatives, and benchmark the outcomes of their performance. Appointments and promotions committees should work proactively with department and QI/PS leaders to ensure that outstanding achievement in QI/PS is defined and recognized. As with the development of physician–investigators and clinician–educators, departments and health systems need a comprehensive approach to support and recognize the contributions of faculty working in QI/PS to meet the considerable needs and opportunities in health care.

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