Identify Innovate Demonstrate Encourage
2. Examples of training
3. Most effective approaches
4. Important messages
Health Foundation evidence scans provide information to help those involved in improving the quality of healthcare understand what research is available on particular topics. Evidence scans provide a rapid collation of empirical research about a topic relevant to the Health Foundation's work. Although all of the evidence is sourced and compiled systematically, they are not systematic reviews. They do not seek to summarise theoretical literature or to explore in any depth the concepts covered by the scan or those arising from it.
This evidence scan was prepared by The Evidence Centre on behalf of the Health Foundation. © 2012 Health Foundation
There is an increasing focus on improving healthcare in order to ensure higher quality, greater access and better value for money. In recent years, training programmes have been developed to teach health professionals and students formal quality improvement methods.
This evidence scan explores the following
The training approaches most commonly
–– What types of training about formal quality
improvement techniques are available for
–– university courses about formal quality
–– What evidence is there about the most
effective methods for training clinicians in
For the purposes of this scan, quality improvement
training was defined as any activity that explicitly
aimed to teach professionals about methods that
could be used to analyse and improve quality.
Courses about techniques, such as evidence-based
medicine, statistics and leadership, were included
if the stated aim was to improve quality. Courses
about improving a specific condition or pathway
were included if they incorporated material about
improvement techniques that could also be widely
applied to other topics.
Ten electronic databases were searched for research
published between 1980 and November 2011 and 367
studies were summarised. Sixty higher educational
institutions and other organisations in the UK and
internationally were contacted for course curricula.
Unless otherwise specified, the trends reported are
evident throughout the Western world.
Types of training
Training in quality improvement is available for
medical, nursing and paraprofessional students in
many parts of the world. Continuing professional
development (CPD) courses are also available,
including short workshops, on-the-job training and
training related to specific projects.
THE HEALTH FOUNDATION
–– teaching quality improvement as one component
of other modules or interspersed throughout a
–– using practical projects to develop skills
–– online modules, distance learning and printed
–– professional development workshops
–– simulations and role play
–– collaboratives and on-the-job training.
In much of the Western world, quality
improvement modules for medical and nursing
students tend to focus on techniques such as
audit and plan, do, study, act (PDSA) cycles. Most
courses run by academic institutions tend to be
unidisciplinary and classroom based or undertaken
during clinical placements. However, there is
an increasing acknowledgement of the value of
multidisciplinary training, especially in practical
work-based projects. Many courses now contain a
practical component. Simulation is also becoming
popular as a training approach.
Continuing professional development training
about quality improvement appears to be growing
at a faster rate than university education. Ongoing
education includes workshops, online courses,...
References: for Action. Geneva: WHO,
Department of Health,
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