Qual Saf Health Care 19:351-354 doi:10.1136/qshc.2009.033829
  • Education and training

Effect of a quality improvement curriculum on resident knowledge and skills in improvement

  1. Vineet M Arora1
  1. 1Section of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA
  2. 2Centre for Clinical Governance Research, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Lisa M Vinci, University of Chicago, 5841 S Maryland Avenue, MC3051, Chicago, IL 60637, USA; lvinci{at}
  • Accepted 10 February 2010
  • Published Online First 31 May 2010


Background While many residency programmes have implemented quality improvement (QI) training programmes, few have been rigorously evaluated.

Methods Residents at the authors' institution participated in a required course, the Quality Assessment and Improvement Curriculum during two 1-month-long rotations. The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Practice Improvement Module (PIM) was used to guide residents through chart reviews for quality measures, surveys of patient satisfaction and an assessment of clinic systems. Residents received 12 h of training in QI skills (ie, using Plan–Do–Study–Act cycles). Residents worked in groups to test the effect of a small QI project of their choosing. Residents completed the Quality Improvement Knowledge Assessment Tool (QIKAT) to assess QI knowledge, and a self assessment of QI skills. Third-year residents who did not participate in the curriculum served as a historical control group.

Results 87% (26/30) of PGY2s (intervention group) and 83% (24/29) of PGY3 residents (historical controls) completed the self assessment and QIKAT. PGY2 residents showed a significant improvement in QIKAT scores (Pre: 6.98 (6.23 to 7.72) vs Post: 9.70 (8.92 to 10.50); p<0.001) and all 12 QI skills. In addition, the post-PGY2 intervention group outperformed the PGY3 historical control group in QIKAT scores (PGY2 Post-9.59 (8.82 to 10.36) vs PGY3 Control 7.34 (6.48 to 8.20); p<0.001) and all QI skills.

Conclusion A QI curriculum using the ABIM PIMs and small-group, resident chosen QI projects can result in improvements in resident knowledge and self-assessed skills in QI. The use of a historical control group was a helpful way to account for the effects of accumulating experience in the pre-post evaluation of this curriculum.


  • Funding Supported by an internal grant from the Pritzker School of Medicine, Graduate Medical Education Committee and The University of Chicago Department of Medicine, Excellence in Medical Education and Clinical Care Award.

  • Competing interests VMA receives an honorarium from the ABIM as a member of the Internal Medicine test writing committee.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by the University of Chicago Institutional Review Board (Protocol#14982B).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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