The ACS Quality Improvement Course: The Basics (Workshop Edition)

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The ACS Quality Improvement Course: The Basics is designed to ensure the surgical workforce and other quality improvement staff are well-educated on the basic principles of surgical quality and safety. 

The course includes six modules: 

  • Introduction to Quality Improvement: Quality improvement concepts and the rationale for investing in quality 

  • The Quality Improvement Process: How quality improvement happens and how to begin a quality improvement project 

  • Data Measurement and Analysis: How data is used throughout a quality improvement project and some of the fundamental tools that can help to display and analyze data 

  • Change Management: How change happens and the factors that affect the change process, and how implementation science can be used throughout a quality improvement project 

  • Patient Safety: The role of culture in maintaining and improving patient safety, the characteristics of high-reliability organizations, and how to evaluate and improve your institution’s safety culture 

  • Leadership and Teamwork for QI: What defines effective leadership and teamwork and how to develop and evaluate teamwork and leadership skills. 

Attendees of the course will receive a Certificate of Completion upon passing a two-hour exam based on the objectives of the course. This course also offers CME and CNE credit. In order to receive CME or CNE credit, you must both complete the course and pass the exam with a 70 percent or higher. The course qualifies for 20 hours of CME or CNE credit. 

Target Audience

The ACS Quality Improvement Course: The Basics is intended for anyone working in a health care setting who is still learning the foundations of quality improvement, regardless of their role. The content is applicable across settings and cultural contexts. 

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, you should be able to: 

  • Explain the function of quality improvement projects within healthcare  

  • Describe the quality improvement process  

  • Identify and analyze data necessary for quality improvement projects  

  • Apply essential QI tools based on applicable use cases  

  • Implement QI projects and changes based on the results of those projects  

  • Develop strategies to ensure that changes are effective and do not adversely affect patient safety  

  • Promote a quality improvement culture in their workplace  

  • Identify strategies to overcome barriers to effective QI 


In line with the ACCME’s requirement to provide references to learners for this type of educational activity, please note that references can be found in each module.


Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 20.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™
  • 20.00 CE Contact hours
  • 20.00 Certificate of Completion
Course opens: 
Course expires: 

Disclosure Information 

In accordance with the ACCME Accreditation Criteria, the American College of Surgeons must ensure that anyone in a position to control the content of the educational activity (planners and speakers/authors/discussants/moderators) has disclosed all financial relationships with any commercial interest (termed by the ACCME as “ineligible companies”, defined below) held in the last 24 months (see below for definitions). Please note that first authors were required to collect and submit disclosure information on behalf all other authors/contributors, if applicable.

Ineligible Company

The ACCME defines an “ineligible company” as any entity producing, marketing, re-selling, or distributing health care goods or services used on or consumed by patients. Providers of clinical services directly to patients are NOT included in this definition.

Financial Relationships 

Relationships in which the individual benefits by receiving a salary, royalty, intellectual property rights, consulting fee, honoraria, ownership interest (e.g., stocks, stock options or other ownership interest, excluding diversified mutual funds), or other financial benefit.  Financial benefits are usually associated with roles such as employment, management position, independent contractor (including contracted research), consulting, speaking and teaching, membership on advisory committees or review panels, board membership, and other activities from which remuneration is received, or expected.  ACCME considers relationships of the person involved in the CME activity to include financial relationships of a spouse or partner.

Conflict of Interest 

Circumstances create a conflict of interest when an individual has an opportunity to affect CME content about products or services of an ineligible company with which he/she has a financial relationship.

The ACCME also requires that ACS manage any reported conflict and eliminate the potential for bias during the educational activity.  Any conflicts noted below have been managed to our satisfaction. The disclosure information is intended to identify any commercial relationships and allow learners to form their own judgments. However, if you perceive a bias during the educational activity, please report it on the evaluation.

Planning Committee and Disclosures 

Dr. Lillian Kao, M.D. - Nothing to disclose 

Dr. Clifford Ko, M.D. - Nothing to disclose 

Colleen Fleming - Nothing to disclose 

Emily Hoffmann - Nothing to disclose 

Continuing Medical Education Credit Information


The American College of Surgeons is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™

The American College of Surgeons designates this enduring activity for a maximum of 20 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

American College of Surgeons and ACGME Logos

This continuing nursing education activity was approved by the American College of Surgeons, California Board of Registered Nursing Provider #CEP17134.

Available Credit

  • 20.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™
  • 20.00 CE Contact hours
  • 20.00 Certificate of Completion
Please login or register to take this course.


This course is only available to attendees of the ACS Quality Improvement Basics Workshop or the QI Basics Residents Preconference Workshop.

Hardware/Software Requirements

Compatible Browsers 

  • Windows: Microsoft Edge (latest version), Google Chrome (latest version), Firefox (latest version) 
  • Mac: Safari (latest version), Google Chrome (latest version), Firefox (latest version) 

Required Browser Settings 

  • Javascript: JavaScript must be enabled for published courses to work. 
  • Font Downloads: Font downloads must be enabled to see the correct fonts and characters

Additional Software 

  • Adobe Acrobat Reader 
  • Microsoft Office® Excel and Word