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EHC 4410 Quality Improvement Methods in Healthcare

Course Description

Studies in depth the quality improvement philosophy, methodologies, tools, and issues related to healthcare. Emphasizes quality standard setting, system design, reporting mechanisms, and effectiveness assessment. Closely examines the relationship between quality improvement programs, risk management, and use review.

Course Objectives

After completing this course, students will be able to

  • Explain the concept of Total Quality Management (TQM), its evolution and application to health services administration
  • Bridge the gap between quality improvement and patient safety
  • Explain the concepts of benchmarks and the relationship to institutional accreditation
  • Describe the quality improvement process, apply the principles to healthcare program design, methodologies, reporting mechanisms, effectiveness assessments, and quantify the individual roles and responsibilities
  • Explain the integration of quality improvement principles and processes with risk management
  • Practice robust quality tools application and team methodology through assignments and discussions
  • Explain the process of measuring and assessing adverse medical events and utilize them to make system corrections
  • Explain Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) in contract research and public health
  • Develop the concept of professional responsibility, contrast it with quality responsibility, and show its relation to current public policy
  • Examine the national standard for performance excellence as defined in the Malcolm Baldrige Health Care Criteria
  • Examine the best practices by paradigm pioneers

Week 1

Module: The Business Case for Quality Improvement
Lecture: The Business Case for Quality Improvement
  • Identify the structure and flow of course
  • Discuss the historical and evolutionary quality development
  • Define the modern or new way of addressing CQI
  • Discuss the gap between quality care and safe care

Week 2

Module: CQI and the Role of Teamwork
Lecture: CQI and the Role of Teamwork
  • Describe the right knowledge needed for best quality and safe care from the customer point of view
  • Identify the practical ways to select, manage and get most out of the teams

Week 3

Module: Process Tools and Quality Analysis
Lecture: Process Tools and Quality Analysis


  • Define the basics of using process tools
  • Identify advanced process tools
  • Discuss how to use the process tools to manage risks
  • Describe the FMEA (Failure mode and Effects Analysis) tool required by The Joint Commission for process improvement

Week 4

Module: Medical Informatics and Microsystems for CQI
Lecture: Medical Informatics and Microsystems for CQI


  • Describe to use data in quality improvement
  • Discuss to make use of clinical micro-systems to make big improvements in quality
  • Define behavior roadblocks 
  • Describe the hidden risks in quality improvement

Week 5

Module: Statistical Thinking and Innovative Approaches for CQI
Lecture: Statistical Thinking and Innovative Approaches for CQI


  • Discuss statistical methods used in quality improvement
  • Identify innovative methods for elegant problem solving
  • Describe how to permanently prevent many quality problems

Week 6

Module: Lean Processing and Standardization
Lecture: Lean Processing and Standardization


  • Describe lean quality improvement methods
  • Discuss how to get more work done with less staff
  • Describe how to standardize processes to achieve high quality at lower cost

Week 7

Module: From Six Sigma to Reinventing Quality
Lecture: From Six Sigma to Reinventing Quality


  • Describe why implementing Six Sigma program is important but difficult
  • Identify the alternatives to Six Sigma
  • Discuss why we should use a futuristic approach to quality improvement

Week 8

Module: Outstanding CQI Management Practices
Lecture: Outstanding CQI Management Practices


  • Describe how to help organizations apply the Malcolm Baldrige criteria for quality improvement
  • Identify how best hospitals go beyond best practices
  • Describe how to use creativity in problem solving 

The course description, objectives and learning outcomes are subject to change without notice based on enhancements made to the course. November 2013