Resident program in health care quality quickly becomes “institutional priority”
As a leading institution focused on patient care, research and education, the University of New (UNM) Mexico School of Medicine knew its residents needed targeted quality training in order to best serve their community as clinicians. In July 2012, the school enrolled 25 residents in a new full-year seminar on patient safety and health care quality, which includes a comprehensive curriculum as well as individual quality improvement (QI) projects. Even in a few short months, the program has added value to residents’ education and to public health.
Marc-David Munk, MD, executive medical director for quality and patient safety at UNM Hospitals, and Rick Crowell, MD, senior vice chair for quality, safety and clinical operations in UNM’s department of internal medicine, developed the course to train engaged physicians in the fundamentals of health care quality. “We know that quality and safety are increasingly relevant, and yet few residents get the training that they need to lead these efforts,” Munk says. “Many residents get only superficial exposure to these concepts. Our graduates will likely be the only physicians with robust training in quality management when they begin jobs in the community.”
The course, which is primarily taught by Munk and Crowell, meets once every 2 weeks. Residents are exposed to a range of speakers and topics in the areas of health care quality and patient safety. After completing the formal curriculum, students then undertake mentored QI projects at UNM Hospitals – which are fully under way for the first cohort. “Some residents are working on standardizing intubation practices in the emergency department, including using an airway checklist. Others are working on improving needle-stick follow-up practices. And others are working on improving the identification and response to sepsis by ensuring high-reliability compliance with sepsis bundles,” Munk says. “This stuff is a lot of fun. We have really animated discussions in class.”
In the future, Munk would like to make these discussions even more animated by expanding the program to include nonphysician members of the UNM clinical team. “Multidisciplinary discussions add a lot to the learning environment,” he notes. The program currently comprises residents from internal medicine, emergency medicine, pulmonary/critical care and preventive medicine. And expansion should be possible given the classes have already become an institutional priority. “These sessions are valuable contributions to public health and fit with our organizational mission as a public hospital,” Munk says.
For more information about UNM’s resident program in health care quality, please contact:
Marc-David Munk, MD
Executive medical Director for Quality and Patient Safety