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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. Angela Ross Perfetti2,
  4. Kate Humphrey3,4,
  5. Luke Sato3,5,
  6. Kathy N Shaw6,
  7. April M Taylor6,
  8. Anjala Tess3,7
  1. 1 Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
  2. 2 Anesthesiology and Critical Care, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
  3. 3 Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  4. 4 General Pediatrics, Children's Hospital Boston, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  5. 5 Patient Safety, Risk Management Foundation, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
  6. 6 Pediatrics, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
  7. 7 Medicine, 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

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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.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval Institutional review boards of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the University of Pennsylvania.

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

  • Data availability statement Data are available upon reasonable request.

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