Q: There was a common theme throughout this year’s ACGME Annual Education Conference; incorporating residents into the institutions’ patient safety and quality improvement plan. What are some simple things I can do now to start this process?
A: Patient safety and quality improvement activities have been underlying themes throughout the program and institutional requirements. In the Next Accreditation System (NAS), both will play an integral part in accreditation decisions and in public assurance that your programs have met the standards set by the ACGME. By becoming an early adopter, you will be better prepared for your CLER visit, institutional site visits, focused site visits and self-study visits.
Meet with your Quality Improvement/Patient Safety Officer: We expect that the new institutional requirements will retain the proposed requirement of appointing a hospital quality and/or safety officer to the GMEC. Begin fostering your relationship with this individual now so that you can educate the Quality Improvement Officer about GME and the QI Officer can educate you, and the GMEC, on the institution’s goals.
Review and understand your institutions quality improvement plan: Hospitals that are Joint Commission accredited are required to have an institutional quality improvement plan. Obtain a copy of that plan from your institution and review this with your GMEC. Identify areas and goals where residents can be integrated and can provide support to the institution as well as meet the requirement for participation in these activities. Align your resident activities with the institutions’ goals for patient safety and quality improvement.
Ensure residents are actively involved in institutional based quality improvement and patient safety: Address your residents as a group and identify those residents that can be peer leaders in the field. Most likely there will be one or two residents that have an interest in this area and can spearhead the resident involvement. Give theses residents the time and resources to successfully complete a project. Their success will be infectious as the other residents see the rewards gained from improving patient safety and patient care.