Newswise — CHICAGO (November 18, 2021): A new course designed to ensure surgeons and their team members are well-educated on the basic principles of surgical quality and safety was released this week by the American College of Surgeons (ACS). The ACS Quality Improvement Course: The Basics is a self-paced online course intended for surgeons and anyone else working in a surgical care setting with an interest in learning the foundations of quality improvement.

“All stakeholders who are interested in quality improvement should take the course in order to understand and use the same terminology as everyone else, be able to go through the steps of quality improvement in a logical fashion, and be able to address common barriers to quality improvement,” said Lillian Kao, MD, MS, FACS, professor, department of surgery, McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Dr. Kao collaborated with ACS to develop the course.

The course includes the ACS Quality Improvement Course Workbook with activities to apply the course content to unique care settings. There are six modules in the course:

  • Introduction to Quality Improvement
  • The Quality Improvement Process
  • Data Measurement and Analysis
  • Change Management
  • Patient Safety
  • Leadership and Teamwork for Quality Improvement (QI)

These modules help learners understand the basics of QI concepts, the rationale for investing in quality, how to begin a QI project, how data can be used to improve quality, how change happens, the role culture plays in improving patient safety, and how to develop and evaluate teamwork and leadership skills.

“I am very excited that we’re offering this quality improvement course. It will help to both educate and optimize the improvement efforts being undertaken in all specialties and settings,” said Clifford Y. Ko, MD, MS, MSHS, FACS, FASCRS, Director, ACS Division of Research and Optimal Patient Care. “The course was designed for a broad audience of users–basically anyone who participates in improvement.”

The course, which takes an estimated 20 hours to complete, is accessed through a learning management platform developed with the latest e-learning technology. Course participants are encouraged to utilize all course materials: knowledge check questions, workbook activities, interactive infographics and application activities, summary videos, tools, and resources.

“The American College of Surgeons has demonstrated a longstanding commitment to surgical quality. Whether you are new to quality improvement or looking to further your understanding of the fundamentals, this course will cover the core concepts of quality in an approachable and thoughtful format,” said Patricia L. Turner, MD, MBA, FACS, ACS Executive Director-Elect and Director, ACS Division of Member Services.

The course was first previewed at the 2021 ACS Quality and Safety Conference, July 12-16, 2021. The self-paced course is available as of November 17 and costs $249. Additional course formats will eventually be available, including a nine-month, instructor-led version of the course in which participants complete a quality improvement project concurrently with the course.

"The modules in this course help participants understand the fundamentals of quality improvement, which they can then implement on their quality improvement journey," said ACS Executive Director David B. Hoyt, MD, FACS. "This course is an important addition to ACS's quality efforts and will help hospitals and their care teams better care for their patients."

For more information, visit the ACS Quality Improvement Course: The Basics webpage or contact [email protected].

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About the American College of Surgeons
The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational organization of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical practice and improve the quality of care for surgical patients. The College is dedicated to the ethical and competent practice of surgery. Its achievements have significantly influenced the course of scientific surgery in America and have established it as an important advocate for all surgical patients. The College has more than 84,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world.