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Tomolo AM, Lawrence RH, Watts B, Augustine S, Aron DC, Singh MK. Pilot study evaluating a practice-based learning and improvement curriculum focusing on the development of system-level quality improvement skills. Journal of graduate medical education. 2011 Mar 1; 3(1):49-58.
BACKGROUND: We developed a practice-based learning and improvement (PBLI) curriculum to address important gaps in components of content and experiential learning activities through didactics and participation in systems-level quality improvement projects that focus on making changes in health care processes. METHODS: We evaluated the impact of our curriculum on resident PBLI knowledge, self-efficacy, and application skills. A quasi-experimental design assessed the impact of a curriculum (PBLI quality improvement systems compared with non-PBLI) on internal medicine residents' learning during a 4-week ambulatory block. We measured application skills, self-efficacy, and knowledge by using the Systems Quality Improvement Training and Assessment Tool. Exit evaluations assessed time invested and experiences related to the team projects and suggestions for improving the curriculum. RESULTS: The 2 groups showed differences in change scores. Relative to the comparison group, residents in the PBLI curriculum demonstrated a significant increase in the belief about their ability to implement a continuous quality improvement project (P ? = .020), comfort level in developing data collection plans (P ? = .010), and total knowledge scores (P < .001), after adjusting for prior PBLI experience. Participants in the PBLI curriculum also demonstrated significant improvement in providing a more complete aim statement for a proposed project after adjusting for prior PBLI experience (P ? = .001). Exit evaluations were completed by 96% of PBLI curriculum participants who reported high satisfaction with team performance. CONCLUSION: Residents in our curriculum showed gains in areas fundamental for PBLI competency. The observed improvements were related to fundamental quality improvement knowledge, with limited gain in application skills. This suggests that while heading in the right direction, we need to conceptualize and structure PBLI training in a way that integrates it throughout the residency program and fosters the application of this knowledge and these skills.