Loyola University Chicago

Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing


The MS degree in QSIT is planned as a two-year, 36 credit hour, cohort, on-line program with two-day immersion to take place during each of the Spring and Fall semesters. Cohorts will be admitted in the Fall semester. With its holistic and inter-professional approach, the QSIT degree program will integrate a variety of core competencies, including: measurement science, outcomes management, ethics, information systems, research methods and leadership.

Interprofessional concepts will be infused into both immersion and course activities. Five principal members of the QSIT faculty are registered to attend the May 2013 IPEC Interprofessional Faculty Development Institute for Quality & Patient Safety. The IPEC Institute is an opportunity for our faculty team to create an implementable plan for interprofessional curricular design in support of the new QSIT program.

Immersion experiences will be carefully planned to fully complement coursework. During the immersions, Loyola faculty from nursing, medicine, public health and the Graduate School, as well as Loyola and Trinity clinical and administrative leaders will be invited to present short seminars on current relevant topics in quality, patient safety and health information management.

An integral component of the immersion weekends will be experience in the Clinical Simulation Learning Laboratory (CSLL). Through the use of case scenarios, QSIT students will have the opportunity to enhance their technical, communication, critical thinking and decision-making skills as they face simulated quality, safety and information technology challenges. The use of roles, clinical scenarios, faculty feedback and debriefing contribute to a rich and life-like interprofessional learning environment in the CSLL.

Immersion experiences will combine socialization and learning activities designed to develop a community of scholars and leaders as well as provide opportunity for rooting of social justice values to the pursuit of health care quality and safety.

Structure of Each Proposed Focus

The QSIT degree will offer only one focus. Students will individualize their programs through the inclusion of selected Specialty course options based on previous experience, coursework, and career goals, and in consultation with the Graduate Program Director.

The 36-credit Master of Science Degree in Healthcare Quality, Safety, and Information Technology (QSIT) is organized around five Core courses (15 credits), three Advanced Core courses (9 credits), three Specialty courses (9 credits), and one Capstone course (3 credits). In situations where students have had equivalent courses, a maximum of six credit hours may be
transferred in and applied toward the MS degree. In all cases, students must complete a total of 36 credit hours to fulfill the coursework degree requirements, with a minimum of 30 credits taken through Loyola University Chicago.

Core Courses (15 credits)

All students will be required to take the core curriculum. The core curriculum addresses content that faculty has identified as knowledge essential and fundamental for all Loyola QSIT graduates and professionals in the quality, safety and health information technology field. Core courses include:

Healthcare Organization & Delivery (3 credits). This course addresses current issues in healthcare organization, models of care delivery and financing. Major challenges that impact cost, quality and access to health care are examined. An emphasis is placed on historical context and significant policies that regulate health care organizations.

Organizational Effectiveness in Healthcare Organizations (3 credits). This course focuses on organizational theory and practice specific to creating a culture of safety. Students are introduced to management strategies for attaining and sustaining effective and efficient structures, processes and performance outcomes within organizations. Methods of creating successful change efforts in organizations are examined in the context of healthcare quality and patient safety with a particular emphasis on interprofessional teams.

Organizational Ethics I: Business, Professionalism and Justice BEHP412 (3 credits). This course examines ethical issues in health care from the vantage point of decision makers who shape the system, e.g., physicians within a group practice, administrators within a health system, or advocates within a community. In particular, issues of balancing fidelity to the mission of a health-care organization with limitations emanating from its operating or profit margin will be considered in detail. The social and economic context of health care in the U.S. and the health of the public will be overviewed as the backdrop for considering the responsibilities social justice entails to self, one’s profession, the various institutions of which a healthcare profession is a member, one’s patients, and the underserved. The course is a month-long hybrid of online learning and a three-day intensive experience on the campus of Loyola University Medical Center.

Health Services Research & Informatics (3 credits). This course provides an overview of health services research as it relates to safety and quality care outcomes. Specific competencies include review and synthesis of relevant literature, research question/hypothesis development, choice of appropriate methodological designs, and analysis of data. An emphasis is placed on the role of data and information in health services research; its collection, storage, assembly, display and presentation, and on the identification of populations at risk.

Advanced Concepts in Quality & Patient Safety (3 credits). This course offers advanced study in the area of quality and patient safety. Error science and systems thinking, methods for risk assessment and patient safety improvement, principles of safe system design, disclosure principles are examined. The application of information technology is explored as an avenue to enhance healthcare outcomes. An emphasis is placed on developing the business case for quality throughout the course.

Advanced Core Courses (9 credits)

All students are required to take the Advanced Core. These courses are deemed essential and typically will be taken after completion of the Core courses. Advanced Core courses include:

Human Factors in Healthcare Environments (3 credits). This course addresses the relationship between the individual and the healthcare delivery environment. It focuses on the human performance of tasks, the structure of human-system communication, human capabilities to use system components, and the design and evaluation of interfaces. Human factors principles are examined in the context of healthcare quality, performance outcomes and patient safety.

Outcomes Performance Management Methods CMAN 440 (3 credits). This course focuses on methods, techniques and tools employed in outcomes performance management and patient safety. Emphasis is on: application of quality improvement, evidence-based practice and safety approaches; strengths, limitations, purposes and appropriate uses for accepted performance measurement and decision support methods, effective use of statistical process control, variance analysis, guidelines, protocols, root cause analysis, failure mode and effects analysis and other measurement tools and methods; design, implementation and evaluation of performance management programs, role of project manager in directing all phases of performance management process; role of national, expert panels in setting standards for national programs; social, political, legal, regulatory and ethical issues.

Regulatory Issues in Quality & Patient Safety (3 credits). This course explores critical legal and regulatory issues involved in quality and patient safety. Students explore governmental regulation and reporting, the role of accreditation bodies, risk management approaches, public health policy and fiscal implications. The complexity and impact of regulatory oversight on healthcare delivery is emphasized.

Specialty Courses (9 hours)

Specialty Courses complement the Core and Advanced Core curriculum. Specialty Course components of the curriculum will give QSIT students options to take courses in areas of particular interest. Course selections will vary based on the student’s individualized planned areas of study, student goals and learning objectives. Students will choose nine hours from among the following 18 hours of coursework.


Fiscal Management in Health Care Organizations CMAN 533 (3 credit hours). This course allows the graduate student to develop a framework for understanding key issues in financial management in health care from two perspectives. First, the course explores the relationship between the national economic environment and the financial context for current models of health care delivery. Second, the course introduces a variety of fiscal concepts and techniques as applied to nursing and health care administration such as cost accounting, cost behavior, budgeting, cost benefit/cost effectiveness analysis, cost-volume-profit analysis, forecasting, cost variance analysis, and performance budgeting. Emphasis is placed on the way in which cost data can be used for decision making and the role of information systems and their relationship to health care administrative practice. Opportunities for application of concepts enable the graduate student to develop a quantitative approach to decision making in health care administration.


Ethics Across the Care Continuum BEHP403(3 credits). This course will prepare students to identify biomedical ethical issues in a setting such as long-term care, rehabilitation care, psychiatric care, dentistry, and alternative medicine and to develop moral frameworks for addressing these issues. These objectives will be met by considering the current literature on ethical issues in these settings, analyzing cases and issues from these health-care delivery sites, and exploring theoretical questions concerning how the principles and frameworks of biomedical ethics can be adapted to apply in these settings

Health Information Technology

Health Care Systems Analysis & Design CMAN 488 (3 credit hours). This course will address methods and techniques of health care information system (IS) analysis and design as performed within the system development life cycle. Systems planning, analysis, design, implementation, support, testing, and evaluation are defined and differentiated using a case study approach. Principles of hardware/software design and their importance to the user interface are emphasized. The role of the health provider in the system development life cycle is delineated and applied. Evaluation criteria for system selection are identified. An emphasis is placed on analysis, development, selection, and evaluation of information systems as they relate to health care.

Decision Support in Health Care CMAN 490 (3 credit hours). This course focuses on the understanding of decision support systems. It emphasizes the importance of capitalizing on the virtually unlimited storage and data processing capacity of computers to assist in decision making in health care. Characteristics, structures, and uses of decision support systems (DSS) in health care are described. Considerations and criteria to evaluate DSS for clinical and operational use are delineated. The use of DSS to evaluate and justify nursing and health care resources is examined. Computer-based programs that are used to assist the health care manager with patient care decisions, as well as strategic planning, operations, and knowledge development, are described. Clinical, administrative, financial, decision support, and expert systems, as well as integrated hospital information systems, are introduced.

Quality & Safety Analysis & Research

Comparative Effectiveness Research in Healthcare CMAN 569 (3 credits). Comparative effectiveness research (CER) is a central tenet of health care reform. This course offers an overview of policy implications and rationale for CER and explores different approaches of developing, analyzing and communicating CER. Research comparing the clinical and economic merits of different treatments, devices and procedures will be explored.

Health Program Planning & Evaluation CMAN 434 (3 credit hours). This course focuses on the evaluation of health programs using the framework of evaluation of need, evaluation of progress, evaluation of outcome and evaluation of efficiency. Psychometric, economic, political and ethical issues related to health program evaluation are analyzed. Examples will be drawn from community health, home health care, ambulatory care and acute hospital settings as well as other health and social programs. Students will design a needs assessment or outcome evaluation as well as critique published evaluation studies.
This course is designed for graduate students in nursing, medicine, social work, health law or those in business or management who are interested in health care.

Capstone Course (3 credits)

The capstone course provides an opportunity for the student to integrate and apply knowledge and skills acquired from the QSIT master's program. A project management approach, project deliverables and outcomes are required elements of the experience. The capstone project will be guided by faculty and an identified preceptor in a clinical or organizational setting.