Integrating Essential Components of Quality Improvement into a New Paradigm for Continuing Education

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Continuing education (CE) that strives to improve patient care in a complex health care system requires a different paradigm than CE that seeks to improve clinician knowledge and competence in an educational setting. A new paradigm for CE is necessary in order to change clinician behavior and to improve patient outcomes in an increasingly patient-centered, quality-oriented care context. The authors assert that a new paradigm should focus attention on an expanded and prioritized list of educational outcomes, starting with those that directly affect patients. Other important components of the paradigm should provide educational leaders with guidance about what interventions work, reasons why interventions work, and what contextual factors may influence the impact of interventions. Once fully developed, a new paradigm will be helpful to educators in designing and implementing more effective CE, an essential component of quality improvement efforts, and in supporting policy trends and in promoting CE scholarship. The purpose of this article is to rekindle interest in CE theory and to suggest key components of a new paradigm.

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