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


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Abstract

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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