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New IHI Survey Finds Quality & Safety Training for Health Professions Turning the Corner, Yet Still Work to Be Done
[December 11, 2012]

New IHI Survey Finds Quality & Safety Training for Health Professions Turning the Corner, Yet Still Work to Be Done

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. & ORLANDO, Fla. --(Business Wire)--

Growing interest in the Institute for Healthcare Improvement's (IHI) Open School - whose registrants reached 150,000 in more than 50 countries in 2012 - is echoed in the results of a new survey that finds students in the health professions are increasingly seeking out training in quality improvement and patient safety. In the face of a troubled health care landscape, the survey results underscore a deep dedication among the next generation of health professionals to build the knowledge and skills they will need to create a better health and health care future.

In a new survey from IHI, more than 60 percent of students admitted they had witnessed or made an er ...

In a new survey from IHI, more than 60 percent of students admitted they had witnessed or made an error in patient care, with only half saying they were extremely likely to speak up about an error made by a colleague or a superior. To help address gaps like this, IHI's Open School features a course on "The Power of Speaking Up" (available at (Photo: Business Wire)

Commissioned by IHI and conducted by national research firm Kelton, the survey polled more than 350 medical, nursing, pharmacy and other health care professional students. Nearly 90 percent of students responding to the survey believe it is 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. The good news is that students are beginning to get what they are looking for - 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. Yet, we still have a long way to go. More than 100,000 people die each year from preventable errors and our health care system remains plagued with high costs, waste, and inefficiencies - we can and must do more to address these urgent issues."

Top Student Concern: Making Harmful or Fatal Errors

Students recognize the gaps that persist and must be addressed. In the new survey, 43 percent ranked making a harmful or fatal error in patient care as their top concern when they start working, with more than60 percent admitting they had witnessed or made an error in patient care. And these fears and mistakes are often kept silent, with only half the students surveyed saying they were extremely likely to speak up about an error made by a colleague or a superior. They pointed to 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) as key reasons for their silence. Addressing gaps like these, continuing to develop relevant course work, and reaching more students worldwide are top goals for the IHI Open School.

"The onus of fixing health care is on our generation, and we want to build a system based not only on first-class medical knowledge, but also on first-class health care delivery," said Alexi Nazem, MD, MBA, 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."

Recognizing this need, a number of professional schools worldwide are integrating the IHI Open School curriculum as a requirement for students, including Baylor College of Medicine, Clemson University, Cardiff (UK) University, Texas A&M, University at Buffalo School of Nursing, University of South Dakota, University of Colorado, University of Minnesota and Eastern Virginia Medical School.

Students at many of these schools are learning interprofessionally, with the idea that working together in training will improve communication, systems and patient care when it comes time to practice. A recent Health Affairs article highlighted the IHI Open School's role in a project that integrated quality and safety into medical and nursing school curricula. Funded by the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, the Retooling for Quality and Safety Initiative made strong progress toward fostering joint learning in health professions schools.

About the Survey
The IHI Student Survey was fielded by Kelton between November 13th and November 27th, 2012, among 336 students in medical, nursing, pharmacy, or other health care professional schools, using an email invitation and an online survey and results were available in early December. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. In this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 5.4 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.

About IHI Open School
Launched in 2008, the IHI Open School is transforming health care education around the world by offering students, residents and faculty free online courses on quality improvement, patient safety, leadership, health care operations, population health and patient-centered care. The courses are available to health professionals for a low annual fee. Developed along with many of the founders and current leaders of the health care quality improvement movement, the courses provide a critical foundation for quality and safety and offer a whole new environment for thinking and learning about improvement and safety. Intended for any health profession - including medicine, nursing, pharmacy, public health, and allied health - the IHI Open School also features myriad free resources and a growing community network that includes more than 500 Chapters in more than 50 countries worldwide. Learn more at

About The Institute for Healthcare Improvement
IHI is a leading innovator in health and health care improvement worldwide. For more than 25 years, we have partnered with an ever-growing community of visionaries, leaders, and front-line practitioners around the globe to spark bold, inventive ways to improve the health of individuals and populations. Together, we build the will for change, seek out innovative models of care, and spread proven best practices. When it comes to raising the quality of health for all, IHI sees boundless possibilities and while we see the walls in front of us, we will not rest until we reach the other side. Learn more at

IHI Open School video (available here)
IHI Open School Course: "The Power of Speaking Up" (available here)
IHI Open School app (available here)

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