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Patient Safety and Program Evaluation

This specialization is designed to offer a terminal degree to meet the needs and interests of individuals with a desire to conceive, design, and conduct quality improvement studies and assessment of behavior, policy, and health care services as they relate to quality delivery of and access to healthcare. It provides students with the knowledge and skills set to develop research programs that evaluate the quality of medication use and medication use systems, to determine barriers and root causes related to patient safety problems and medication errors, to identify or develop targeted interventions for these barriers and root causes, and to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of such interventions. Research in patient safety and program evaluation is expected to lead to direct improvements of the medication use system, changes in healthcare delivery, or public policy.

Individuals interested in pursuing a specialization in patient safety and program evaluation include:

  • Recent graduates in the health sciences who desire to pursue a research career;
  • Recent college graduates with training in public health, sociology, public health, psychology, or related fields with an interest in quality improvement and policy;
  • Individuals working in research or quality improvement/assessment settings who wish to formalize and extend their training in order to advance their careers in these settings;
  • Practicing clinicians with a desire to develop a research program in patient safety.

Methodological aspects will focus on the measurement of providers’ or patients’ behaviors, beliefs, and attitudes, the assessment of clinical processes and outcomes as they relate to quality, and the evaluation of programs such as quality improvement initiatives or healthcare policies. With a concentration in patient safety and program evaluation, the graduate will be able to participate in regulatory and public policy initiatives that affect the use of medications in society, the conduct of quality improvement programs related to medication use, and the evaluation of programs to prevent, detect, and resolve medication errors and improve patient safety for application in either the public or private sector.

This specialization is suited for individuals with clinical background who are interested in research, that can inform healthcare policy and improve patient safety. It is also targeted to individuals with methodological background in health service research or healthcare administration who wish to strengthen their clinical focus.