A patient safety curriculum for graduate medical education: Results from a needs assessment of educators and patient safety experts

Prathibha Varkey, Sudhakar Karlapudi, Steven Rose, Steve Swensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations


Graduate medical education (GME) has traditionally focused on the diagnosis and management of disease with little attention devoted to patient safety and systems thinking. In this article, we describe the results of a needs assessment conducted to develop a patient safety curriculum for GME. Eight program directors, 10 patient safety experts, and 9 experts in education technology were interviewed for this project. A total of 21 patient safety topics were identified in the categories of cultural, cognitive, and technical content and included communications and handoffs, sentinel event reporting and management, calling for help when in doubt, hand hygiene, universal protocol, fatigue, and the culture of safety and transparency. Objective structured clinical examinations and experiential learning (including simulation) were viewed as the most effective methods for teaching and assessing competence in patient safety. The results of this study provide a framework for the development of patient safety curricula in GME.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)214-221
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Quality
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2009



  • Graduate medical education
  • Needs assessment
  • Patient safety
  • Practice-based learning and improvement
  • Systems-based practice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

Cite this