ISQua Specialist Certificate

Introduction to Quality
Improvement and Patient Safety

Introduction to Quality Improvement and Patient Safety


About the course
This course provides essential insights and overviews on all aspects of Quality Improvement and Patient Safety.

Who is it for?
This course is specifically designed for those who want to improve quality and patient safety across all aspects of healthcare.


Course information

  • Duration: 12 months (from date of enrolment)
  • Fully online course
  • Continuous assessment (no final exam)
  • Certificate awarded upon completion
  • Discounted registration fee for ISQua Members

2019 Conference Tracks

Course Content

Introduction to Quality Improvement
Topic Learning Objectives Presenter
Introduction to Healthcare Improvement
  • Describe the difference between quality assurance and quality improvement.
  • Identify some of the common challenges for healthcare around the world (Ex. inability to reliably deliver best practices, hospital acquired conditions, end of life care, etc.).
  • Describe the concept of "Value" in healthcare (includes aspects of quality and cost).
  • Name the six domains of "Quality" as defined by the US Institutes of Medicine.
Jeffrey Braithwaite
Quality Improvement Methods
  • To describe the difference between the main types of measures (structure, process, outcome) and its relationship.
  • To explore the relationship between Quality Improvement strategies and patient safety: the DUQuE study and its implications will be presented as an example.
  • To briefly describe the process of implementing quality interventions.
Rosa Sunol
The Model for Improvement
  • Ask the three critical questions in the Model for Improvement.
  • List the critical elements of an effective aim statement.
  • Describe the difference between the main types of measures (structure, process, outcome, balancing).
Gail Nielsen
Testing and measuring change with PDSA cycles
  • Describe the specific components of the PDSA cycle.
  • Describe ways to collect data during the "Do" phase of the PDSA cycle.
  • Understand how to translate your data ("study") to move to the "act" phase.

John Fitzsimons


Emmanuel Aiyenigba

Interpreting data
  • Build a run chart (including plotting a baseline median/mean and annotations).
  • Describe the difference between common cause and special cause variation.
  • Identify several rules that identify non- random variation in outcomes.
David Vaughan
Quality Improvement Tools
  • Create a SMART aim.
  • Build a driver diagram that addresses the SMART aim created.
  • Understand the appropriate times to use other critical Quality Improvement Tools
  • Understand "the theory” as shown by the driver diagram.

John Fitzsimons


Emmanuel Aiyenigba

Using Evidence Based Medicine to Achieve Quality Outcomes
  • Name where to find out about best practices (ex. literature, registries of databases, etc.).
  • Describe how to use Evidence Based Medicine to improve quality in healthcare
  • Understand how to achieve best value and outcomes
Enas el Gouhary
Variation and Managing Clinical Processes
  • Recognize the difference between random variation and special cause variation.
  • Understand the importance of a "stable" process as a precursor to improvement.
  • Describe approaches to optimize a clinical process.
David Vaughan
Lean Management Systems
  • Describe the 5 components of the Lean based "Daily Management System".
  • Understand what is meant by the term "visual management" and describe how this might be used to improve quality.
  • Describe a "tiered huddle" system, and establish a connection between tiered huddles and situational awareness.
Ben Chan
Implementation Science
  • Define what is meant by the term "implementation science".
  • Describe the average lag time between discovery of best practice and comprehensive implementation.
  • Name 2 barriers and 2 facilitators that influence successful implementation of best practices.
Jeffrey Braithwaite
  • Describe what is meant by the term "spread" in healthcare.
  • Explain why "spread" is such an important topic in quality improvement.
  • List several components of a successful spread plan.
Rashad Massoud
Generalizability and Sustainability
  • Identify several strategies to ensure a local quality project is generalizable to entire organization.
  • Describe three approaches that increase the likelihood of sustaining the gains of a QI project.
  • Describe ways to design sustainability into QI work at the start of the project.
Lynne Maher
Publishing and Presenting QI Work
  • Explain some of the challenges faced by scientists when publishing QI projects.
  • Determine if "improvement science" is perceived as "real science" at your institution.
  • Describe the SQUIRE guidelines and their importance to publishing QI work.
Helen Crisp
  • Give several examples of how the Electronic Medical Record can improve the quality of care.
  • Identify what other technology has been used to improve quality and patient safety (ex. bar coding, point of care testing, etc.).
  • Describe at least two important studies that show improved outcomes because of implementing an electronic medical record.
David Bates
QI Indicators
  • Identify the most important quality indicators tracked at your institution 
  • Describe the quality metrics that are required for submission to external agencies (ex. regulatory agencies, insurance agencies, etc.).
  • Determine what metrics are presently linked to "pay for performance" approaches in your location
Peter Hibbert
How to Identify Process Problems for Improvement
  • Explain some of the limitations of standards and training to fix problems in health service delivery.
  • Identify problems in processes of care that can be readily fixed.
  • Share examples from hospitals and clinics in low and middle income countries of how health workers have used these approaches.
Gail Nielsen
Current QI Trends
  • Understand the long journey over the past two decades of improving healthcare.
Rashad Massoud

Specialist Certificates fees

New To ISQua? Hours Duration Cost Eligibility
  40 12 months €350 Applicants from High Income (HI) & Upper Middle Income (UMI) countries
ISQua Members Hours Duration Cost Eligibility
  40 12 months €250 Active ISQua Members
Standard LMIC rate* Hours Duration Cost Eligibility
  40 12 months €175 Applicants from Low and Lower Middle Income Countries (LMIC)
ISQua Member (LMIC rate*) Hours Duration Cost Eligibility
  40 12 months €125 Active ISQua Members from low and lower-middle-income countries

* ISQua offers 50% discount to participants who were born in and currently work in low income and lower middle income countries as ranked by the World Bank. Applicants must upload the first page of their passport and letter from their employer to verify they qualify for this discount.

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