High-quality residency training is of utmost importance for residents to become competent medical specialists. Hospital-wide education committees have been adopted by several healthcare systems to govern postgraduate medical education and to support continuous quality improvement of residency training. To understand the functioning and potential of such committees, this study examined the mechanisms through which hospital-wide education committees strive to enable continuous quality improvement in residency training.
Focus group studies with a constructivist grounded theory approach were performed between April 2015 and August 2016. A purposeful sample of hospital-wide education committees led to seven focus groups.
Hospital-wide education committees strived to enable continuous quality improvement of residency training by the following mechanisms: creating an organization-wide quality culture, an organization-wide quality structure and by collaborating with external stakeholders. However, the committees were first and foremost eager to claim a strategic position within the organization they represent. All identified mechanisms were interdependent and ongoing.
From a governance perspective, the position of hospital-wide education committees in the Netherlands is uniquely contributing to the call for institutional accountability for the quality of residency training. When implementing hospital-wide education committees, shared responsibility of the committees and the departments that actually provide residency training should be addressed. Although committees vary in the strategies they use to impact continuous quality improvement of residency training, they increasingly have the ability to undertake supporting actions and are working step by step to contribute to high-quality postgraduate medical education.