A cross-sectional study of medical students' knowledge of patient safety and quality improvement.
BACKGROUND: The Association of American Medical Colleges and the World Health Organization have endorsed formal patient safety and quality improvement (QI) education for medical students. We surveyed medical students to assess their current level of patient safety and QI knowledge and to identify factors associated with increased knowledge. METHODS: A literature review, focus groups with medical students, and local expert interviews were used to develop an electronic survey, which was distributed to all medical students at a single medical school in the spring of 2012. RESULTS: Fifty-seven percent of the medical school student body (N = 790) participated in the survey. A greater proportion of students reported previous exposure to patient safety education than to QI education (79% vs 47%). Students scored an average of 56% and 58% on the patient safety and QI knowledge tests, respectively. Having or pursuing an advanced degree (P = .02) and previous exposure to patient safety education (P = .02) were associated with higher knowledge scores. After adjusting for confounding variables, only previous exposure to QI education (P = .02) was associated with higher QI knowledge scores. LIMITATIONS: There is a risk of measurement bias due to the use of an unvalidated instrument. Students who have greater knowledge of patient safety or QI might recall exposure at a greater frequency, inflating the association between exposure and knowledge. Also, this is a cross-sectional study, so we cannot draw conclusions about causality. CONCLUSION: Medical students' knowledge of patient safety and QI is low. Previous formal or informal education about these topics is associated with increased knowledge.
Blasiak, RC; Stokes, CL; Meyerhoff, KL; Hines, RE; Wilson, LA; Viera, AJ
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