The Leader's Role in Quality Improvement Education: A Framework for Change

Publication ID Published Volume
9362 March 11, 2013 1


This is a faculty and professional development instructional module in leadership quality improvement for medical education program developers. The module is particularly useful when facilitating change in educational practices among key healthcare stakeholders. The interactive, case-based methods guide workshop participants through a quality improvement plan of action on a relevant patient care safety issue. The case, although representative, may be easily modified for site-specific quality improvement needs (e.g., post-operation infections; hospital readmissions; etc.).

We recommend incorporating this instructional module during the initial phases of an organizational strategic plan in quality improvement and patient safety among interprofessional health professionals. Each of these components provides a foundation for educational change that sustains quality improvements within the organizational culture.

The enclosed resource files provide professional development facilitators with a ‘turn-key’ approach when organizing and conducting a Quality Improvement in Leadership workshop. Managing change and facilitating productive interprofessional teams are continuous expectations for academic leaders in quality healthcare improvements. The ability to promote and guide organizational missions for quality patient outcomes depends on specific leadership characteristics and practices that overcome restraining forces and resistance to change. This instructional guide provides educational leaders with essential tools when guiding and sustaining change. Particular aspects include self-assessment in leadership and conflict resolution traits in healthcare settings. Identifying one’s unique leadership traits is an essential precursor to self-efficacy in team leadership.

A particular challenge for educational leaders is the integration of quality teams across the academic health care continuum (e.g., Undergraduate medical education, Graduate medical education and Continuing medical education) based upon common competencies in quality improvements that incorporate common medical education competencies with quality indicators. In fact, the Healthcare Matrix is a useful format that links these competencies and quality outcomes of patient care. Implementing sound and effective educational interventions that set a vision for changed attitudes and behaviors among interprofessional teams is a fundamental role for educational leaders.

The instructional module consists of a Facilitator Manual to conduct a professional development activity among multi-disciplinary teams. Included is a PowerPoint slide set along with an individual assessment of leadership strengths applied to a case study examining unique and often complex team characteristics in interprofessional education. An innovative case example is offered about blood specimen mislabeling that illustrates key factors to facilitate organizational change processes. Kotter’s leadership model anchors new approaches to implementing curricular innovations. The guide also consists of a lesson plan with instructional session timelines and related instructional activities and materials. In addition, a Pre-Post Session Assessment measures participant knowledge and levels of self-efficacy as a proxy for application of skills to daily practice. Each of these instructional tools provides an efficient and effective strategy in professional educational development.

This instructional module was initially conceived and implemented in a peer-reviewed session at the AAMC education conference on academic leadership with 20 academic health center leaders. Session outcome measures (Pre-Post participant rating factors) revealed increased knowledge and self-efficacy. Additionally, the module was modified for a recent AAMC Quality Improvement conference for 80 multi-disciplinary healthcare leaders with similar increased outcome measures.

Practical implementation advice:

The Resource File contains a Facilitator Manual with specific procedures and instruction content for workshop implementation; a sample case scenario; Participant Materials and PowerPoint slides to support the instruction, along with a sample lesson plan to effectively and efficiently conduct a 90 minute session.

How deployed (pitfalls and tips):

To maximize the workshop session impact, it is recommended that there be an array of inter-professional participants and that the session be conducted in the early phases of an organizational change process for quality improvement.

Limitations of resources and improvements:

A well rehearsed workshop session is vital to effectively facilitate the multiple instructional modalities included in the Resource File. An experienced session facilitator may edit or re-design content for local needs. An added value for the workshop may include requiring participants to complete the IHI (Institute for Healthcare Improvement; Leadership module in advance to further refine their knowledge, skills and attitude outcomes. In addition, a 3-6 month follow-up assessment of participant’s application of acquired skills would be a valuable indicator of workshop success.


Scott J, Spitz L. The leader's role in quality improvement education: a framework for change. MedEdPORTAL Publications. 2013;9:9362.

Educational Objectives

  • To identify leadership behaviors to enhance team performance.
  • To discuss how leadership behaviors affect change and manage conflict.
  • To recognize the effect of human factors in quality improvement.
  • To examine educational leadership strategies in a QI case study when leading the change process.
  • To promote reflective practices for self-improvement in leading the education team.


  • Teamwork, eHealth

Prior Scholarly Dissemination

AAMC Quality Improvement conference "Integrating Quality"; June 2012, Chicago

Accepted workshop presentation

Material Access

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ISSN 2374-8265