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The Role of Quality Improvement in Athletic Training

Quality improvement (QI) is a core competency in the Institute of Medicine framework for education and clinical practice. Clinical Coordinator at the University of Oregon and BOC Maintenance of Competence Task Force member Kim Terrell, MS, ATC breaks down what Athletic Trainers need to know about QI initiatives and systems within the athletic training practice.

Q. What role does QI initiatives play in the athletic training practice?

A. QI is a means of ensuring patients receive safe, effective, efficient, equitable and patient-centered care. The structured evaluation of systems of healthcare delivery allows for improvement of the quality of systems in which clinician’s work, regardless of setting. The profession of athletic training needs data regarding quality of care to demonstrate value and reinforce the importance of our role as healthcare providers.

Q. Why are QI systems critical to a value based healthcare model?

A. Primarily to ensure patient safety and enhance quality of care, this process provides the means to improving value. Healthcare reform has focused on value, which is defined as high quality while controlling costs. QI initiatives demonstrate how Athletic Trainers provide care in a value based model.

Q. What’s the best way to recognize opportunities for quality improvement?

A. Best practice documents, professional standards of care and consensus statements all provide opportunity to assess current clinical practice patterns and see opportunities to implement a QI project. This is done in other healthcare professions and builds collaboration which also benefits patients.