Benefits, challenges of making health care safer and better: Study reviews a national initiative to 'retool'

January 29, 2013

Safety and quality seem like obvious goals for health care education. But improving the way budding doctors and nurses are taught, bringing those professions together in the classroom and clinical settings, and measuring the results, turns out to be a challenge.

That's the conclusion of a new study that reviews an initiative called Retooling for Quality and Safety, sponsored by the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

It was hard to find enough teachers or the right mix of students from different health care professions, the study says. Beyond that, it was difficult to show that the changes mattered "to connect innovations to demonstrable improvements in patient care."

The retooling initiative involved six universities including CU in the 2009-10 academic year. It supported new learning activities, most of which involved medical and nursing students.

"Our research represents some of the tough initial work in this effort," says Madigosky, an associate professor of at the CU School of Medicine.

"While these findings are an important start, there is more work and evaluation to come," adds Barton, an associate dean for clinical and community affairs at the University of Colorado College of Nursing.

Professional organizations representing medicine, nursing, pharmacy, dentistry and public health recently began a formal collaboration to identify the core skills needed in and to incorporate them into health professions education. The emphasis on quality, especially through interprofessional education, has been growing in healthcare and has been a priority at CU.

The CU School of recently was given the Outstanding by the Academic Dental Education Association for its support of interprofessional education courses.

In their paper, published in , Barton, Madigosky and their co-authors set out to evaluate how the first steps of the retooling project had gone.

They found that the six participating schools did a good job of bringing interprofessional education into the curriculum. But they also discovered that there was a "lack of critical mass" of faculty members ready to teach about improving care.

Also, it was hard to figure out of the programs were working or – the ultimate goal—benefitting patients.

"The paucity of robust evaluation strategies for such programs suggests a future research agenda that deserves to be funded," the Health Affairs paper says.

Explore further: Shifting the clinical teaching paradigm in undergraduate nursing education

More information: … ref&siteid=healthaff

Related Stories

Shifting the clinical teaching paradigm in undergraduate nursing education

February 22, 2012
To address the faculty shortage problem, schools of nursing are reexamining how they provide clinical education to undergraduate students to find ways to use faculty resources more efficiently so they can maintain student ...

New registered nurses' lack of geographic mobility has negative implications for rural health

December 9, 2011
A study on the geographic mobility of registered nurses (RNs) recently published in the December Health Affairs magazine suggests that the profession's relative lack of mobility has serious implications for access to health ...

Article addresses the e-patient phenomenon

February 1, 2012
A team of scholars from the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis and the University of Maryland School of Nursing published the first article in academic nursing literature about the electronic-savvy patient, or ...

Reducing revolving door hospital re-admissions

June 1, 2011
Currently, one in five elderly patients discharged from a hospital is readmitted within a month. Seeking to address the human and substantial financial burden of revolving door hospital readmissions, the Affordable Care Act ...

Patient-centered care starts with education

October 31, 2011
The main challenge to providing patient-centred health care is education, as many patients do know how to access the health care system, states an editorial in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Recommended for you

Expert: Be concerned about how apps collect, share health data

October 20, 2017
As of 2016 there were more than 165,000 health and wellness apps available though the Apple App Store alone. According to Rice University medical media expert Kirsten Ostherr, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates ...

More teens than ever aren't getting enough sleep

October 19, 2017
If you're a young person who can't seem to get enough sleep, you're not alone: A new study led by San Diego State University Professor of Psychology Jean Twenge finds that adolescents today are sleeping fewer hours per night ...

Across Asia, liver cancer is linked to herbal remedies: study

October 18, 2017
Researchers have uncovered widespread evidence of a link between traditional Chinese herbal remedies and liver cancer across Asia, a study said Wednesday.

Eating better throughout adult years improves physical fitness in old age, suggests study

October 18, 2017
People who have a healthier diet throughout their adult lives are more likely to be stronger and fitter in older age than those who don't, according to a new study led by the University of Southampton.

Global calcium consumption appears low, especially in Asia

October 18, 2017
Daily calcium intake among adults appears to vary quite widely around the world in distinct regional patterns, according to a new systematic review of research data ahead of World Osteoporosis Day on Friday, Oct. 20.

New study: Nearly half of US medical care comes from emergency rooms

October 17, 2017
Nearly half of all US medical care is delivered by emergency departments, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM). And in recent years, the percentage of care delivered ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.