Offered as a Master of Applied Science (MAS) and more often as a Master of Science (MS), a master's degree in patient safety and healthcare quality educates healthcare professionals on methods for improving healthcare systems through changes in institutional structure and public policy. Students could learn methods for evaluating healthcare systems, gathering data, and implementing improvement plans.
Information About Master of Applied Science in Patient Safety & Healthcare Quality Programs
An MAS in patient safety and healthcare quality is typically designed to prepare healthcare professionals for leadership positions that foster change and improve quality in healthcare systems or the public policies surrounding them. More commonly found as an MS, this program often begins with courses on the foundations of patient safety, and it may progress towards classes on statistical analysis and case studies of real-world applications, like the examples below.
Principles of Patient Safety
In a class on the principles of patient safety, students would generally be introduced to basic concepts such as error, harm, and risk, and how they inform the structure of healthcare systems. The course could examine different healthcare professionals' roles and their contributions to the improvement of patient safety. Additionally, these concepts may be illustrated through lectures, readings, and interactive activities.
Introduction to Healthcare Quality
Students enrolled in an introductory course to healthcare quality could learn the basics of quality and safety issues and how safeguards against them are implemented in healthcare systems. This course may explore methods for measuring quality and these methods' roles in public policy surrounding healthcare. Students could be required to analyze and discuss example issues and demonstrate an understanding of quality improvement approaches.
Statistics and Data in Patient Safety and Healthcare Quality
A course on healthcare data and statistics typically introduces students to methods for data collection and analysis that are commonly used to evaluate healthcare systems. The course could begin with a general overview of how to collect, analyze, and present data, and move on to offer a closer look at statistics and associated principles like p-values, confidence intervals, and statistical estimation. As a result, students may be asked to use this knowledge to evaluate existing public policies and published studies on healthcare systems.
Healthcare Quality Improvement Tools
This course may enhance students' understanding of how concepts of patient safety and healthcare quality are implemented in real-world systems. Students could learn about specific tools like the Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program (CUSP) or Lean Six Sigma, and the approach behind such tools' design strategies. The class may also demonstrate information on the implementation practices of these tools through role-playing or reading.
Case Studies on Patient Safety and Healthcare Quality
In a course that focuses on case studies, students could see how healthcare quality systems and tools have been implemented in real-life settings. Students may be asked to develop an improvement plan for issues found in an example system they have researched, or they could learn about the measures that have already taken place and why they were chosen. A review of these case studies might cover topics like situational obstacles for change, the intended vision for patient safety standards, and how organizational structure played a role in the outcome of the case study.
Common Admission Requirements
In general, students applying for an MAS or MS in Patient Safety and Healthcare Quality must have completed an undergraduate degree first. Letters of recommendation and official transcripts are often required, and applicants may also need to submit a resume or CV that illustrates relevant work experience. In addition, some programs ask for a statement of purpose or personal essay indicating the student's interest in the field. Standardized test scores are a common application component as well.
In a master's program on patient safety and healthcare quality, students learn about healthcare systems, their policies, and approaches for their improvement. Entrance requirements typically include official transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose.