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Quality Improvement

At Providence St. Vincent, we know that physicians of the future must actively shape our healthcare system to deliver better care and better outcomes, all at a lower cost. Quality improvement requires unique skills that can't be taught in a lecture -- project management, team leadership, persistence, and passion. We support each resident to lead a project, following a structured process to implement, test, and measure change.

Innovative Curriculum

Our innovative three-year curriculum has been presented at the Annual Program Directors in Internal Medicine meeting with an accompanying publication in Academic Internal Medicine Insight.

Because making real system level changes and measuring their effects takes time, our curriculum is spread over the three years of residency. Two-week QI rotations are built into both the PGY-1 and PGY-2 years, with several half-days during the PGY-3 year as well. This protected time plus experienced mentors and access to our own data analyst helps residents produce and measure meaningful healthcare improvement.

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Protected Time to Learn QI


Didactics and Reading


2 weeks

Project selection

  • Problem statement
  • Root cause analysis
  • Background research
  • Propose intervention


2 weeks

  • Implement protocol
  • Rapid cycles of change


4 half-days


  • Conclusions
  • Reflections

Clinical Practice

Lifelong Quality Improvement

Presentation and Writing

Training Residents To Use The Third Bucket

threebucketsMedical school teaches the first two “buckets” of medicine: pathophysiology and treatment of disease. We teach our residents the third bucket: quality improvement. We create systems to do what works, every time, for every patient.

“I love the moment when I see the light shining in their eyes. Their face gets animated as they talk about where the project could go, and I know we've found their passion.”

Shelley Sanders, M.D., FACP | Director of Quality Improvement Curriculum and Fellow, Innovation Advisors Program, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation

moyers_justin_2014“This sort of analysis & integration of standardized care pathways is the future of medicine." – commenting on resident Justin Moyer’s Chest CT Screening project

John R Handy, Jr, MD, HonD | Director, Providence Thoracic Surgery Program

gabehyder“I got A LOT out of this project. As someone who is going into hospitalist medicine, quality improvement is becoming a more integral part of the job and the expectation is that hospitalist will lead the way. I feel well equipped and motivated to take this on.
Not to mention, this project was a great selling point at job interviews!

Gabe Hyder, M.D. | Hospitalist

NikolasRobins“In writing the background, protocol and methods portion of my QI project I learned to setup a project from scratch and attempt to implement it. I really learned what QI was when the project went into motion and of course, didn't go as planned….I have to say, when starting residency I was not fond of a mandatory QI elective because I couldn't see myself doing QI in the future, but am so glad to have gone through the process and when interviewing was totally thinking about what QI projects could be done when I get out into practice.

Skye Robins, M.D.