Nancy Liu

Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Internship

Before medical school, I worked in patient advocacy and education, where I became interested in a less discussed aspect of medicine - how sometimes medicine can do harm to patients. Many medical errors are due to issues such as poorly utilized or integrated electronic health records, difficult communication between practices or within the hospital, or other systemic causes. Through work in quality improvement, hospital systems can quantify the costs of poor value care or patient harm, quickly devise and iterate on potential solutions, and create higher value and safer care.

I spent my summer at UCSF learning about methods used in patient safety and quality improvement work. One of my projects examined whether patients with lupus who received treatment in different health systems met the recommended standards of care and how quality differs between different care settings. My second project focused on the costs of delayed diagnosis in lupus, with implications for improving medical education around diagnosis as well as refining the development of apps and other technologies that aim to improve diagnosis accuracy.

During the summer, I was also able to participate in The Telluride Experience, a conference for medical students and residents interested in learning more about patient safety as a field and a movement in improving hospital systems. I'm excited to take these experiences into the clinics and continue to think about how to improve current systems of care.