Innovation HealthJam: What does your Physician of the Future Look like?

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Medicine is changing; social media, online conferences, and twitter are democratizing the discussion. We’re super excited about Innovation HealthJam, the first open call to discuss with leaders in the field how medicine should be changing.

Medical education needs to morph with the changes in medicine. What changes do you see as important?

Ajay Major, MBA

We asked Ajay Major, rising third year medical student at Albany Medical College and Founder and Editor-in-Chief of in-Training, the largest online magazine by medical students for medical students, about the greatest needs of our health care system.

Ajay Major:

Our health care system needs physicians-in-training who are dedicated to becoming leaders and advocates both in and out of the hospital. We need a new generation of medical students who are eager to act as change agents in the fields of technology, public health, medical education, and health care delivery, to bring about revolutionary new changes in health care to improve care for all patients.

Skochelak Susan

Susan Skochelak, MD, MPH

The American Medical Association (AMA) is hosting the “Your Physician of the Future” track at Innovation HealthJam. Susan Skochelak, MD, MPH and Vice President for Medical Education answers a few of our questions.

What are the biggest gaps in how physicians are trained and what they need to know to deliver care? How do you think innovation will play into this?

Current physician training does not fully prepare medical students for skills that will be essential in the health care system of the future, such as the usage of electronic health records, leading teams of health care professionals, how to be good stewards of resources, or how to focus on improving population health rather than just an individual’s health.

Medical students continue to receive the majority of their training in hospital settings, but the majority of patients are cared for in an out-patient setting by physician-led health care teams.

Today’s medical schools also typically provide minimal instruction on the business of medicine and the inner workings of health care systems, but the AMA believes future physicians must know how health care is financed and how health systems work so they are prepared to function effectively in rapidly changing settings to continue to provide the best possible care for patients.

To transform the way medical schools train future physicians, the AMA in 2013 launched an $11 million competitive grant initiative aimed at bringing innovative changes to medical education. Working with a national advisory panel, we selected 11 schools to receive a $1 million grant, over five years, to fund their bold proposals that support a significant redesign of undergraduate medical education.

Through the AMA’s Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative, the AMA is leading efforts to prepare today’s medical students for the health care system of the future by creating the components that will form the medical school of the future.

How do you feel about technology in medical education?

We are at the very beginning of utilizing information technology in medicine. Physicians need to know how to ask the right questions, how to sift through the right data, how to understand information technology systems, and how to manage that information. Right now, we’re not teaching medical students enough of these types of skill sets, which we believe will be vital to their future practice in the nation’s evolving health care system.

The AMA is also working with medical schools to rapidly incorporate new learning technology that supports adaptive and flexible learning modalities – such as realistic avatar simulation.

What parts of the country are doing the most to accelerate change in medical education? What are particularly good examples?

A critical component of the Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative was the establishment of a learning consortium comprised of representatives of the 11 selected schools to develop, share and implement best practices in medical schools across the country – beyond the 11 schools. Representatives from each school gather regularly to discuss innovations in medical education.

The schools which received grant funding focused their proposals on either competency-based assessment, online courses open to students across different schools, real-time and virtual health care systems in education, or quality and safety education.

For example, the proposal put forth by the University of Michigan Medical School has the potential to make a significant impact on medical education through the creation of a curriculum where all students begin their education with two years of integrated scientific and clinical experiences. Students would then be able to branch off into their own individualized professional development tracks to cultivate advanced skill sets in a clinical setting at their own pace, which may allow them to graduate from medical school sooner.

And, at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine a real-time educational health care system allows students to get immediate reports on their own progress and assessments.

Most importantly, all 11 consortium schools form the foundation for spreading innovative ideas across all medical schools throughout the country to ensure that today’s medical students are prepared to care for patients in the health care environment of tomorrow. Innovations are also being tested at many other schools across the U.S. and Canada.

Jennifer M. Joe, MD

Jennifer M. Joe, MD

    My passion is healthcare optimization, whether that is with innovation, making scientific discoveries, or improving delivery. I love bringing people and ideas together and making projects work. With this, medicine exists to improve lives, and I will strive to always help patients and those around me.

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