A Two-Pronged Quality Improvement Training Program for Leaders and Frontline Staff

Over the course of two years, 630 employees of Atlanta-based Emory Healthcare’s five hospitals and multispecialty physician practice completed a broad-based, two-pronged quality improvement program.

An in-house education program improved senior staff knowledge of quality improvement and engaged frontline staff in quality improvement projects.

Senior staff (545) participated in a two-day leadership program that focused on developing their understanding of quality improvement concepts, a common vocabulary, and an institutional vision. Many participants were nursing or administrative directors of clinical and nonclinical departments. Among the topics:

  • Public reporting of quality data and public accountability
  • Quality measurement and management based on data
  • Human factors and reliability science
  • Health care processes
  • Tools of process management
  • Management of process improvement

Frontline employees (85), including department managers, completed a 12-day practical methods course. In addition to introducing the core principles of quality improvement and effective team functioning, the course presented a set of tools for them to identify and improve patient outcomes. Participants practiced the skills discussed in the course and were encouraged to design and implement quality improvement projects in their operating unit.

Based on pre- and post-test scores, leadership course participants improved their knowledge of quality improvement by 35 percentage points. Practical methods course participants initiated 49 quality improvement projects.