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Pandemic Quality Improvement Elective

Last Updated: May 5, 2020


Our students have been involved in multiple volunteer efforts throughout our medical center as we prepare for the pandemic. We also have MS3s who would like to keep earning credit towards graduation. To this end, we have modified our existing Patient Safety/Quality Improvement elective and created a new Pandemic Quality Improvement elective. In this four-week elective, we have engaged 16 students to look at various aspects of the pandemic response in which student volunteers have been involved, identify process shortcomings, and design quality improvement projects to address those issues. We have designed lectures on quality improvement basics and disaster medicine. We are also requiring the completion of several IHI modules, as well as other readings/podcasts pertaining to the pandemic. 

The students are divided into groups to focus on distinct projects. In the first week, we ask them to complete the background reading and brainstorm to identify a problem within the pandemic response. They then create a synopsis of the problem and start working on a project charter. In week two, they do a detailed literature review and gather data and information to formulate a process map and identify gaps. In week three, the student design a PDSA cycle that could be enacted to intervene on the on the problem. In the final week, the student prepare a platform presentation, which they present to the faculty facilitators and the other students in the course. Areas in which they are working include: 

  • Employee health screening 
  • Implementation of PPE checklists via mobile app 
  • Action plan development in Incident Command Center 
  • Deployment of mobile devices equipped with videoconferencing software to be used in patient care 


Nidhi Goel, MD, MHS , University of Maryland School of Medicine (ngoel1@som.umaryland.edu)