Teaching quality improvement: A collaboration project between medicine and engineering

Prathibha Varkey, Sudhakar P. Karlapudi, Kevin E. Bennet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Systems failures and their impact on quality and cost have fueled the need for a paradigm shift in medical education. Despite a growing interest in health care quality improvement (QI), few physician educators possess the necessary expertise in either systems engineering or QI. In this article, we describe a novel teaching partnership between engineers and physicians in implementing a 3-week elective QI training curriculum on health care QI. Nine learners, 2 preventive medicine and 7 endocrinology fellows, participated in this rotation. Key concepts taught by the 4 engineering faculty include stake-holder analysis, root cause analysis, process mapping, failure mode and effects analysis, resource management, negotiation, and leadership. Learner scores on the QI knowledge application tool improved significantly (P <.004) from 7.33 prerotation to 11.89 postrotation. Further research is necessary to study the effectiveness, efficacy, and scope of using engineering expertise in QI education initiatives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)296-301
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Quality
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Collaboration
  • Curriculum
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Quality improvement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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