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Demonstrating the value of postgraduate fellowships for physicians in quality improvement and patient safety
  1. Jennifer S Myers1,
  2. Meghan Brooks Lane-Fall1,2,
  3. Ross H Perfetti2,
  4. Kate Humphrey3,4,
  5. Luke Sato3,5,
  6. Kathy N Shaw6,
  7. April M Taylor6,
  8. Anjala Tess3,7
  1. 1Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
  2. 2Anesthesiology and Critical Care, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
  3. 3Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  4. 4General Pediatrics, Children's Hospital Boston, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  5. 5Patient Safety, Risk Management Foundation, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
  6. 6Pediatrics, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
  7. 7Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jennifer S Myers, Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA; jennifer.myers{at}


Background Academic fellowships in quality improvement (QI) and patient safety (PS) have emerged as one strategy to fill a need for physicians who possess this expertise. The authors aimed to characterise the impact of two such programmes on the graduates and their value to the institutions in which they are housed.

Methods In 2018, a qualitative study of two US QIPS postgraduate fellowship programmes was conducted. Graduates’ demographics and titles were collected from programme files,while perspectives of the graduates and their institutional mentors were collected through individual interviews and analysed using thematic analysis.

Results Twenty-eight out of 31 graduates (90%) and 16 out of 17 (94%) mentors participated in the study across both institutions. At a median of 3 years (IQR 2–4) postgraduation, QIPS fellowship programme graduates’ effort distribution was: 50% clinical care (IQR 30–61.8), 48% QIPS administration (IQR 20–60), 28% QIPS research (IQR 17.5–50) and 15% education (7.1–30.4). 68% of graduates were hired in the health system where they trained. Graduates described learning the requisite hard and soft skills to succeed in QIPS roles. Mentors described the impact of the programme on patient outcomes and increasing the acceptability of the field within academic medicine culture.

Conclusion Graduates from two QIPS fellowship programmes and their mentors perceive programmatic benefits related to individual career goal attainment and institutional impact. The results and conceptual framework presented here may be useful to other academic medical centres seeking to develop fellowships for advanced physician training programmes in QIPS.

  • continuing education, continuing professional development
  • health professions education
  • quality improvement
  • patient safety

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request.

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

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

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.

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