Graduate work in healthcare quality allows students to investigate the healthcare system and enhance their understanding of approaches to patient safety. Master's degree and certificate programs are available, and students can pursue some offerings online.
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Healthcare Quality Graduate Program Information
Master's programs in this area often involve completing 36 to 48 hours of coursework and a significant project, and programs may include intensive immersion sessions in addition to more traditional in-person or online classes. Certificate programs involve a series of courses like those below, and curricula can be completed in about a year to two years.
Introduction to Healthcare Quality
Preliminary courses in these programs introduce students to key concepts in healthcare quality. These classes generally cover theories related to the quality of clinical care, definitions of quality care, and types of healthcare outcomes. Students also learn approaches to decision-making, methods of assessing the quality of care, and the roles of stakeholder groups including healthcare providers and government agencies.
Graduate programs in this area devote attention to methods used in assessing healthcare services and business practices. In quantitative methods classes, students learn how to conduct and interpret relevant statistical methods. Specific topics may include linear regression, Poisson regression, and outcome prediction. Students may also examine statistical software systems and data systems used with both financial and clinical information.
Leadership in Healthcare
To prepare for management positions related to healthcare quality, graduate students usually take courses in leadership. These classes examine leaders' roles in establishing and maintaining healthcare quality within an organization. Leadership theories are covered along with organizational mission and culture. Effective professional communication and conflict management strategies may also be covered.
These classes examine the entities and forces that shape policies impacting the healthcare system. Students learn to identify key stakeholders and to develop effective strategies for working with them. Courses cover groups including healthcare providers and government agencies, along with relevant legislation that impacts the field. These classes may focus on a particular area of policy, like regulations affecting finances and reimbursement.
Courses in patient safety examine policies and methods aimed at ensuring positive outcomes for patients. Students in these classes learn theories and methods relevant to patient safety, approaches to risk assessment, and methods for designing patient safety systems. These classes often allow students to consider particular patient safety problems and provide opportunities for discussion.
Healthcare Quality Graduate Program Admissions
Applicants to graduate programs in healthcare quality should hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited higher education institution. Healthcare quality programs also usually require two to three letters of recommendation. Additional requirements vary from program to program; for some schools, applicants need to submit GRE scores, a resume, and a statement of purpose. Programs also may require that students have prior work experience in a closely related field and submit a writing sample related to healthcare safety.
Graduate programs in healthcare quality are available at master's and certificate levels, and many offer flexible options for completion. Prospective students can expect classes in areas including patient safety, leadership, healthcare policy, and research methods.