IHI Open School Courses Increase Knowledge in Georgia

June 2013

Eka Rukhadze, MD, PhD, and Nino Butskhrikidze, MD, wanted to know if the IHI Open School courses increased knowledge among their students in Tbilisi, Georgia. They designed a 20-question pre-test to gauge student knowledge about patient safety and handed it out on the first day of class. Students struggled, getting, on average, only 28% of the questions correct.

Then, during the course, the teachers introduced the Open School and re-tested the students. The result? A 23% increase in their medical students’ scores.

“By comparing pre- and post-test results, we have learned what we have done is right and should be emphasized in further courses,” says Rukhadze.

David Tvildiani Medical University, known as Aieti Medical School until it was renamed in 2011, in Tbilisi, is just one of more than 200 academic institutions around the world that have integrated the IHI Open School Courses in the last two years. Within the past year, in particular, the courses have grown even more prominent in the Middle East. With several Chapters in Saudi Arabia, and the recent adoption of the courses by Hamad Medical Corporation in Doha, Qatar, improvement and safety are becoming hot topics in the region. 

Rukhadze and Butskhrikidze used the IHI Open School Patient Safety courses (PS 100-106), coupled together with unique Georgian case studies, to shape the first patient safety course conducted at David Tvildiani. Fifth-year medical students received a solid grounding in the basics of quality and safety each week.

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“We found out that it is much more interesting to merge the quality and safety issues and teach these topics together,” says Rukhadze. “So we are going to include quality improvement and patient-centered care in the curriculum now.”

The pre- and post-test questions they developed covered several topics, including:

  • The main characteristics of a culture of safety
  • Defining ‘patient safety’ according to the World Health Organization
  • Understanding systems reasons for error
  • The modern approach of responding to errors

Rukhadze, who learned about the Open School after attending the 2012 International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare in Paris, says they’re already expanding use of the courses. The plan is to move the education of these topics up the chain of experience. 

“We think that it is also important to teach patient safety to already practicing physicians,” she says. “That’s why we decided to add this course to the PhD program.”

And they aren’t stopping there. Rukhadze says they’re looking to spread the IHI Open School courses beyond their school, and to the rest of Georgia.

“With the head of the School of Public Health at David Tvildiani Medical University, Giorgi Pkhakadze, we have started the negotiation process with the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Social Affairs of Georgia,” says Rukhadze. “We have obtained their support to establish the training for all levels of medical facilities for the whole country.”

Editor’s note: To learn more about how the courses are being used at David Tvildiani Medical University, email Eka Rukhadze or Nino Butskhrikidze, and visit the David Tvildiani Medical University School of Public Health website.

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