Western Governors University (WGU) and the National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ) have joined forces to address a longstanding challenge for the healthcare industry: reducing variability in healthcare delivery by reducing variability in healthcare quality competencies. To that end, WGU has recently become the first academic institution to align several of its graduate-level programmes with industry standards developed by NAHQ.
“The healthcare industry is in a race to make value work. Making value work depends on industry standardisation in the form of organisational and workforce competencies,” said former Utah Governor and WGU co-founder Mike Leavitt, who served as U.S. Secretary for Health and Human Services from 2005 to 2009 and is currently co-chair of the Accountable Care Learning Collaborative. “WGU is a university that was founded on competency-based learning, so it makes sense that they would partner with the National Association for Healthcare Quality to combine NAHQ’s industry-developed workforce competencies and standardised framework into WGU programmes and curriculum. This is an important first step for both organisations to replicate this model of industry collaboration – collaboration that leads to reskilling and upskilling the workforce with the competencies that are needed to make health value work.”
Amid healthcare’s expansion and advancements in recent years, the industry has been without a single training pathway or established competency standard regarding quality. This has resulted in a workforce that utilises disparate skillsets, tools, and even vocabulary in addressing similar problems. The COVID-19 pandemic shined a bright light on how this massive inconsistency can yield medical error, negatively impact patient outcomes, and increase operational waste for healthcare facilities and systems. Aligning university curriculum with real-world industry standards can help close that variability gap, according to Stephanie Mercado, CAE CPHQ, NAHQ’s CEO and Executive Director.
“NAHQ believes workforce readiness is the key to delivering on quality in today’s healthcare environment. WGU’s actions speak volumes about its commitment to prepare students with the knowledge and skills required of today’s healthcare professionals to help drive improved patient outcomes and quality,” said Mercado. “NAHQ and its Board of Directors applaud WGU for being the first – among a growing list of academic institutions – to align its healthcare quality curriculum with our twice-validated industry standards at this critical time in healthcare.”