Legitimizing Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI): Navigating Rationality in Undergraduate Medical Education

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13 Scopus citations


In July of 2015, the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME)—the primary accrediting body for North American allopathic medical schools—formally advanced a model of “formative accreditation” by requiring that medical schools engage in “ongoing planning and continuous quality improvement processes that establish short and long-term programmatic goals, result in the achievement of measurable outcomes that are used to improve programmatic quality, and ensure effective monitoring of the medical education program’s compliance with accreditation standards.” As these and parallel forces redefine undergraduate medical education (UME) in increasingly rationalistic (i.e., operational, measureable, controllable) terms, efforts to implement meaningful continuous quality improvement (CQI) processes may be challenged to overcome perceptions of questionable purpose, worth, and impact often associated with administration mandates. This commentary discusses potential factors underlying the growing rationalism in UME and offers practical strategies to shield CQI from being passively dismissed, excessively routinized, or redirected toward other institutional ends—remaining, instead, purposefully focused on the task at hand: Enhancing teaching and learning in undergraduate medical curricula.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)758-761
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of General Internal Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 15 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Society of General Internal Medicine.


  • continuous quality improvement
  • organizational behavior
  • quality assurance
  • stakeholder engagement
  • undergraduate medical education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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