Quality Improvement and Making the Data Count

This course is offered through UpSkill NIMAA. Click here for more information on UpSkill NIMAA.

Course Information

This course is designed to provide an appreciation for and understanding of the concepts related to quality improvement (QI) in healthcare. Learners will build the relevant knowledge, skills, and attitudes to make data count in delivering high quality primary care as a medical assistant on an interprofessional team. The course begins by providing participants with a review of the ideas that underlie the continuous improvement of healthcare. After exploring these foundational concepts, the course examines examples of data and the ways in which quality measures are documented in primary care, with a focus on the importance of interprofessional communication and teamwork. Next, the course covers each of the steps in the Model for Improvement and applies these concepts to the role of medical assistants including the use of common QI tools and methods. The course concludes by reviewing key math concepts and calculations used in QI, and examining the importance of displaying data graphically over time. 

Target Audience

This activity is appropriate for medical assistants and any member of the team involved in QI processes.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, participants will be able to: 

  • Define the concept of quality improvement and the model for improvement. 
  • Describe the ways in which data are used to measure quality of care provided. 
  • Discuss the basic tools used in quality improvement and health care measurement. 
  • Complete knowledge assessments on each topic related to quality improvement and making data count. 
  • Discuss best practices, potential pitfalls, challenges and barriers to working as a medical assistant to help make data count. 


NIMAA highly recommends that trainees first take the Interprofessional Team Based Care (ITBC) course before enrolling in Quality Improvement & Making the Data Count (QIMDC). The concepts of interprofessional, team-based primary care, and ways of enhancing the medical assistant role are covered in detail in ITBC and then further developed in QIMDC. Additionally, it is highly recommended that participants be health professionals currently working in a primary care setting. 

Method of Instruction

This is a full distance delivery course. All content is delivered asynchronously via NIMAA's Learning Management System (LMS). The course is organized into 10 self-paced sessions. Each session is designed to take approximately one hour to complete with the course totaling 10 hours. Sessions build on one another, and thus are sequential. The work of each session involves the participant completing a brief knowledge assessment before reviewing the content. This is followed by exploring the content in videos, slides, documents, and other materials. Participants then demonstrate what they have learned in an activity as well as share reflections and questions about the content with fellow participants. Finally, participants complete a knowledge assessment to understand what they have learned in the session. 

Required Hardware/Software

This course does not have a textbook requirement. All required course content materials are included in the LMS within the lesson content for each session. Additional optional learning resources are listed in the lesson information for each session in the course syllabus. To be able to access and complete all the required course items, all participants are expected to have access to a personal computer meeting the specifications below. 

Minimum Hardware Requirements 

  • Personal computers should be five years old or newer, when possible 
  • 2.4 GHz or faster processor  
  • 4 GB or more of RAM 
  • 300 GB or larger hard drive  
  • 500MB or better video card capable of 1920x1080 resolution or higher  
  • Sound card with speakers, headphones and microphone  
  • Monitor/display video card capable of 800x600 dpi with 256 colors  

Highly Recommended

  • Printer 
  • CD-RW, DVD-RW or USB mass-storage device (recommended)  

Minimum Software Requirements

  • Operating Systems (one of the following): 
    • Windows 7 and newer   
    • Mac OS X 10.6 and newer  
    • Linux - Chrome OS  
  • Supported browsers: Edge, Safari, Chrome, and Firefox (current and first previous major releases of each browser)  
  • JavaScript enabled  
  • Minimum Internet Speed:  
    • Bandwidth of 512 Kbps (i.e. basic DSL) minimum   
    • Bandwidth of 1.5 Mbps minimum to support good video streaming  
  • Unrestricted access to YouTube and Vimeo 
Activity summary
Activity opens: 
Activity expires: 

The course duration is ten weeks.

  • Session 1 - What is Quality Improvement
  • Session 2 - Common Data Used for Understanding Results in Primary Care
  • Session 3 - Making Data Count (Part 1)
  • Session 4 - Making Data Count (Part 2)
  • Session 5 - Setting a Goal and Understanding Stakeholders
  • Session 6 - The Importance of Balanced Measures
  • Session 7 - Describing Work as a Process
  • Session 8 - Testing a Change
  • Session 9 - Key Math Concepts for Quality Improvement
  • Session 10 - Display of Data and the Importance of Time

Course enrollment takes place on an ongoing basis. Upon enrollment, participants are granted access to the course. Participants can complete the required weekly work on their schedule. Once a session is open, it remains open for the duration of the course. At the end of the course, participants are granted one additional week to complete pending work.

UpSkill NIMAA courses provide contact hours that can count toward CMA (AAMA) and CCMA (NHA) recertification requirements.


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