Strategies for incorporating patient safety education in paramedic education using the IHI Open School

Alan M Batt, Lisa Henderson, Trevor Hines Duncliffe, Samantha Robb, Jenalyn Cundy Jones, Rayne Crosetta, Presley Smith, Dugg Steary




Every year, thousands of patients die and millions are harmed by medical care provision. Paramedics care for patients in dynamic, and challenging environments every day, which creates conditions that are ideal for mistakes to occur and for harm to be caused as a result. Knowledge of patient safety is recognised as a competency for paramedics in several jurisdictions, yet general awareness among paramedics of patient safety issues remains poor. The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Open School courses were identified as a potential solution to this identified gap. These courses have been successfully integrated into various health professions education programs in other institutions; however, no literature was discovered which discussed the integration of these courses into paramedic education.


Eight online courses from the 13-course IHI Basic Certificate in Quality and Safety were embedded into the curriculum of a professional issues class in a paramedic diploma program in Ontario, Canada. Courses were completed outside of classroom time over one semester, and a percentage of activity marks for the class were awarded to students on the completion of the eight courses. Students provided a copy of certificates to prove completion of training.


In this pilot program, 41 paramedic students in the class (98%) completed all 13 courses, and were awarded the IHI Basic Certificate in Quality and Safety. Students described the courses as “highly applicable to paramedicine and pre-hospital care”. In addition, students state that completing the certificate gave them knowledge of “the means by which change can be enacted”. The completion of the courses outside of class time was achievable, and feedback from students has been overwhelmingly positive. An additional 43 students are currently enrolled in the courses, with completion expected by December 2018.


The IHI Open School courses are an easy to implement strategy for paramedics looking to gain a brief, concise education on quality and patient safety. It is our goal to integrate the IHI Open School Basic Certificate across all classes in the two-year diploma program. We hope this will lay a foundation for professional practice that is based on safe, high-quality care provision.


patient safety; education; quality improvement; paramedic

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Copyright (c) 2018 Alan M Batt, Lisa Henderson, Trevor Hines Duncliffe, Samantha Robb, Jenalyn Cundy Jones, Rayne Crosetta, Presley Smith, Dugg Steary

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