Effective quality‐improvement (QI) collaborations among physicians, nurses, and managers have been shown to improve health care outcomes. Thus, participation in QI activities is considered a core competency for practicing hospital medicine. Despite this, physician engagement in QI activities has been limited. One reason for limited participation by physicians may be that physicians may lack sufficient education in QI methods. Systematic reviews have reported that education about QI training increases topic knowledge and may improve clinical outcomes. To date there has not been an assessment of if the amount of QI education leads to increased involvement in QI.
A survey was administered to attendees at the 2011 Academic Hospitalist Academy asking questions regarding professional attitudes, attitudes toward QI, amount of QI education, and number of QI projects. Answers were graded on a Likert scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree).
Of the 40 respondents, 35% had been involved in no QI projects in the last 3 years and 50% in 1–5 projects. All respondents agreed that all physicians (4.15) as well as themselves (4.05) needed more education in QI. Most agreed (mean, 3.75; with median, 4) that QI was critical to their success. Hospitalists involved in 1–5 projects felt that their education was slightly better versus those involved in no projects (2.55 vs. 1.85). They also ranked their knowledge of QI more highly (2.5 vs. 2.0). The greatest difference was they were more likely to participate in QI projects (3.75 vs. 2.5) and be a leader in a project (3.1 vs. 1.93). Hospitalists who were involved in 1–5 projects versus zero projects had more QI educational sessions (2 vs. 1). Hospitalists receiving more than 3 educational sessions were more likely to take on more projects than those receiving less than 3 (median, 3 vs. 1).
QI is a core competency of being a hospitalist, and most of our sample agreed it was critical to their success. They felt that all physicians as well as themselves needed more QI education. Although the sample size was small, there was a trend toward more education leading to more QI involvement. Future directions may include having more educational sessions QI for young hospitalists as well as a more structured mentoring program.