IHI sees uptick in Open School enrollees
December 11, 2012 in Medical Technology
Students in the health professions are increasingly seeking out training in quality improvement and patient safety, according to a new survey from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI). But with more than 100,000 people dying each year from preventable medical errors, “We still have a long way to go.”
The survey comes as registrants of IHI’s Open School, which offers online courses on patient safety, population health and more, reached 150,000 in more than 50 countries in 2012. IHI officials say that those numbers point to the dedication of a new generation of health professionals to attain the knowledge and skills to create a safer and more effective healthcare system.
The survey, commissioned by IHI and conducted by research firm Kelton, polled more than 350 medical, nursing, pharmacy and other healthcare professional students.
Nearly 90 percent of respondents said it was extremely important for health professions schools to provide training or skills in patient safety, with the majority of students also identifying training in patient-centered care, quality improvement and interprofessional teamwork and communications as extremely important, say IHI officials.
The good news is that students are beginning to get what they are looking for, they add, with the vast majority rating their training in these areas as good or excellent.
“This is a marked and welcome change from where we were four years ago when we created a curriculum of online courses on the fundamentals of quality improvement and safety and made it free for all students, residents, and faculty in the health professions,” said Maureen Bisognano, IHI president and CEO. “Today, not only are students embracing these principles, but health care educators are creatively integrating this instruction into their training.”
Nonetheless, she adds, “We still have a long way to go. More than 100,000 people die each year from preventable errors and our healthcare system remains plagued with high costs, waste and inefficiencies – we can and must do more to address these urgent issues.”
The IHI survey suggests that students recognize the shortcoming of patient safety:
- 43 percent ranked making a harmful or fatal error in patient care as their top concern when they start working
- More than 60 percent admitted they had witnessed or made an error in patient care.
Meanwhile, however, just half of students surveyed said they were “extremely likely” to speak up about an error made by a colleague or a superior. Their reasons had to do fear of being ostracized (31 percent), fear of being treated poorly (27 percent) or not being entirely sure what qualifies as an error (24 percent).
Addressing gaps like these, continuing to develop relevant course work, and reaching more students worldwide are top goals for the IHI Open School, officials said.
“The onus of fixing healthcare is on our generation, and we want to build a system based not only on first-class medical knowledge, but also on first-class healthcare delivery,” said Alexi Nazem, MD, a former IHI Open School Chapter Leader at Yale School of Medicine, and now a resident at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “The Open School provides us with the ‘missing curriculum’ we need to be smart, and the like-minded colleagues we need to be strong in order to tackle the challenges ahead.”NEXT PAGE