Certificate in Patient Safety and Quality Improvement

The Certificate Course is aimed at health professionals (e.g. clinicians, allied health professionals, administrators) whose work relates to patient safety or quality improvement, as well as senior trainees considering a focus on patient safety and quality improvement for their careers.

The course consists of approximately 60 hours over ten months, covering core concepts in patient safety and quality improvement, using a mixture of didactic lectures, interactive workshop-type sessions, workplace-based exercises and presentations by class participants. Throughout the course, participants will perform a patient safety or quality improvement project as a means of getting practical, hands on experience, while simultaneously applying the above core learning concepts.

Participants will frequently engage with various mentors one-on-one throughout the course, creating a rich learning environment, and increasing the success of their proposed projects. This course also provides an opportunity for participants to network with other individuals passionate about patient safety and quality improvement. The relationships built often continue beyond the duration of the course, which many previous participants have found beneficial as they continue to build their careers.

The Certificate Course received the 2010-2011 Colin Woolf Excellence in Course Coordination from the University of Toronto and we will be applying for accreditation by the University of Toronto CPD for 2017-2018.

Cert Course session 1aParticipants will learn key concepts such as: 

  • Core definitions and epidemiology in safety and QI
  • Approaches to measuring healthcare quality and performance
  • Methods for assessing quality and safety problems
  • Quantitative methods: Run charts and control charts
  • Qualitative methods in safety and quality
  • Patient safety topics: (safety culture, human factors, incident analysis, communication and teamwork)CERT CIMG 4289
  • Patient engagement
  • Resource stewardship
  • Leadership (leading change, stakeholder engagement)
  • Health informatics
  • How to teach QI to others
  • Health policy and the clinical microsystem

In order to successfully obtain the Certificate of Completion, participants must complete three exercises/assignments that are based in their clinical work (e.g., a PDSA cycle, a stakeholder interview, a process map of a clinical process related to a larger QI project).

Participant feedback:

Participants appreciated the opportunity to obtain current knowledge, network with peers, and develop projects. Some of their comments provided in year-end evalautions are shown below.

  • "Wonderful program. It has definitely helped me to better understand QI and support our staff to design and carry out QI projects with merit. As well, it has supported me to pursue improvements to our QI ethics review process at UHN and across the TAHSN hospitals as a long term goal. Wonderful to be involved in interprofessional learning opportunity with participants from different hospitals."
  • "Overall great course, very interesting and provided me with some basic entry knowledge about how to conduct future QI projects. The course was great at being able to create some passion and drive about being involved with QI."
  • "The course was excellent in terms of basic of methodology, engagement, sustainability, tools, networking. Yes the course was a great introduction and the additional opportunities for attending the October conference and meeting mentors in the field was great."

Successful past candidates' projects:

Dr. Eric Tseng took the Certificate Course in 2013-14 as a Chief Medical Resident in General Internal Medicine. His project focused on implementing an orderset and checklist to improve transfusion practices at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre with the ultimate goal of reducing blood transfusion associated complications, specifically transfusion-associated circulatory overload. He recently published his study in the journal Transfusion Medicine, co-authored with Dr. Yulia Lin, who is also a graduate of our course (2014-2015). You can read more about this project here.

Dr. Meiqi Guo took the course in 2014-15 as a PGY4 in the Physiatry residency program at the University of Toronto. She discovered that patients who had suffered a recent stroke were rarely offered the opportunity to discuss sexual health concerns. Using a collaborative, multidisciplinary approach, she and the rehabilitation team at West Park Healthcare Centre made numerous changes to the standard care plan of stroke rehabilitation patients -- after 10 months, 80% of patients were offered the opportunity to discuss sexual health. She published her work with Certificate Course mentor Dr. Alex Lo in BMJ Quality Improvement Reports. More on the success of her project can be found here.

Are you interested in learning more about the Certificate Course?

Please contact Lisha Lo for more details. | 416-813-7654 ext. 228513

Important Info.

Download 2018-19 application
Available March 2018

Course Directors:
Dr. Alene Toulany & Dr. Brian Wong

Associate Course Directors:
Dr. Olivia Ostrow (interim Dir. until Nov/17) & Dr. Eric Monteiro

Method of Course Delivery:

Tues 12:30PM-4:30PM
Sept 2017 to June 2018

Session Dates (21 sessions): 
To be finalized in June 2017

Estimated Time Commitment:
1 day/week for in-person classes, assignments, and/or individual project work

Course Location:
UofT C-QuIPS - SickKids Site, Suite 630, 525 University Ave., Toronto

Tuition Fees for 2017-2018:
Faculty/Staff: $4500
Residents/fellows/trainees: $1750
Health Professionals: $2750

Admission Requirements:
To be eligible, interested applicants must be able to undertake a QI project at their current healthcare institution with the support of their sponsor while being able to attend the in-person sessions.  A complete application includes:
1) Applicant Information
2) Personal Statement (300 words)
3) Abbreviated CV (4 pages max)
4) Two Letters of Support (to be completed by referees) from institution where you will undertake the QI project.