Skip to main content


Log in

Surgical Education to Improve the Quality of Patient Care: the Role of Practice-Based Learning and Improvement

  • Published:
Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery


Health care is going through immense change, and concerns regarding the quality of patient care and patient safety continue to be expressed in many national forums. A variety of stakeholders are demanding greater accountability from the health care profession. Education is key to supporting surgeons’ efforts to provide high-quality patient care during these challenging times. Educational programs for surgeons should be founded on principles of continuous professional development (CPD) and practice-based learning and improvement (PBLI). CPD focuses on the specific needs of individual surgeons and involves lifelong learning throughout a surgeon’s career. It needs to form the basis of PBLI efforts. PBLI involves a cycle of four steps—identifying areas for improvement, engaging in learning, applying new knowledge and skills to practice, and checking for improvement. Ongoing involvement in PBLI activities to address specific learning needs should positively impact a surgeon’s practice and improve outcomes of surgical care.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. Kohn LT, Corrigan JM, Donaldson MS, eds. To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System. Washington (DC): National Academy Press, 2000.

  2. Committee on Quality of Health Care in America, Institute of Medicine. Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century. Washington (DC): National Academy Press, 2001.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Greiner AC, Knebel E, editors. Health Professions Education: A Bridge to Quality. Washington (DC): The National Academies Press, 2003.

  4. Updated Accreditation Criteria: Background – Explanations – Timeline. ( Accessed 6/6/07. Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education, Chicago (IL); 2006.

  5. Sachdeva AK. The new paradigm of continuing education in surgery. Arch Surg 2005;140:264–269.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. ABMS Maintenance of Certification (MOC). ( Accessed 5/22/07. American Board of Medical Specialties, Evanston (IL); 2006.

  7. ACGME Outcome Project. General competencies. ( Accessed 5/22/07. Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, Chicago (IL); 2001.

  8. Sachdeva AK, Blair PG. Educating surgery residents in patient safety. Surg Clin N Am 2004;84(6):1669–1698.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. Davis DA, Mazmanian PE, Fordis M, Van Harrison R, Thorpe KE, Perrier L. Accuracy of physician self-assessment compared with observed measures of competence: a systematic review. JAMA 2006;296(9):1094–1102.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Sachdeva AK, Russell TR. Safe introduction of new procedures and emerging technologies in surgery: Education, credentialing, and privileging. Surg Oncol Clin N Am 2007;16:101–114.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. Davis D, Thomson O’Brien MA, Freemantle N, Wolf FM, Mazmanian P, Taylor-Vaisey A. Impact of formal continuing medical education: Do conferences, workshops, rounds, and other traditional continuing education activities change physician behavior or health care outcomes? JAMA 1999;282(9):867–874.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Casebeer L, Kristofco RE, Strasser S, Reilly M, Krishnamoorthy P, Rabin A, Zheng S, Karp S, Myers L. Standardizing evaluation of on-line continuing medical education: Physician knowledge, attitudes, and reflection on practice. J Contin Educ Health Prof 2004;24:68–75.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. Sachdeva AK. Acquiring skills in new procedures and technology: The challenge and the opportunity. Arch Surg 2005;140:387–389.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  14. Sachdeva AK. Invited commentary: Educational interventions to address the core competencies in surgery. Surgery 2004;135(1):43–47.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. Reznick RK, MacRae H. Teaching surgical skills—Changes in the wind. N Engl J Med 2006;355:2664–2669.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. Ericsson KA. Deliberate practice and the acquisition and maintenance of expert performance in medicine and related domains. Acad Med 2004;79(10 suppl):S70–S81.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  17. Moulton CE, Dubrowski A, MacRae H, Graham B, Grober E, Reznick R. Teaching surgical skills: What kind of practice makes perfect? A randomized, controlled trial. Ann Surg 2006;244(3):400–409.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  18. Pellegrini CA, Sachdeva AK, Johnson KA. Accreditation of Education Institutes by the American College of Surgeons: A new program following an old tradition. Bull Am Coll Surg 2006;91(3):8–12.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ajit K. Sachdeva.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Sachdeva, A.K. Surgical Education to Improve the Quality of Patient Care: the Role of Practice-Based Learning and Improvement. J Gastrointest Surg 11, 1379–1383 (2007).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: