New Textbook Brings Medical Education Curriculum Up To Speed
In recent years, the healthcare system in the United States has undergone sweeping changes as new rules and regulations are shifting towards value-based care models instead of traditional fee-for-service models.
Along with practicing physicians, medical schools in the country must also adapt to these changes. Medical school curriculums must ensure that students who are training to become physicians are equipped not only with a deep knowledge of medicine but also an understanding of how healthcare is delivered in America.
A new textbook, “Health Systems Science,” hopes to address this by providing students with a framework of healthcare implementation.
The AMA’s Accelerating Change in Medical Education Consortium commissioned the textbook to address the need to define the science of health systems from the perspective of a healthcare provider. The book, authored by faculty members from 11 consortium schools, as well as several AMA experts, is already being used by some students in the country. Previously available books on the topic have been primarily intended for hospital managers and administrators.
According to James L. Madara, MD, CEO of the American Medical Association, medical education curricula have not kept pace with the changes in healthcare delivery models: “We need to incorporate these changes into how we teach our doctors.” In addition to an understanding of the human body and clinical sciences, students need to learn how to deliver care in a health system that is increasingly complex.
Basic science is the first pillar of medical education and teaches students how the human body works. Clinical experience is the second pillar of medical education and teaches students how to recognize, prevent, and treat diseases. “Health Systems Science” will form the third pillar of medical education, teaching doctors how to apply their knowledge in the current context of healthcare delivery.
Topics covered in the textbook provide a framework to integrate the science of health systems into existing coursework. Patient safety, quality improvement, leadership, teamwork, population health, clinical informatics, socioecological factors, and healthcare economics and policy are all covered in the course. The intention is to make the material relevant to all students of healthcare professions.
Health Systems Science in medical curriculums
The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and the Penn State College of Medicine are two schools that are already using the new textbook. In 2014, a $1 million AMA grant helped Penn State launch the Systems Navigation Curriculum in which first-year medical school students are deployed as patient navigators at clinical sites, both inpatient and outpatient, in central Pennsylvania. This innovative approach was developed to bridge the gap between education and training in a large hospital setting and the practice of medicine in smaller physician offices.
The AMA also gave a $1 million grant to Brown University in 2015 to support the Primary Care Population Medicine Program. A first of its kind, the program awards a Master of Science in Population Medicine along with the Doctor of Medicine degree. The curriculum is designed to train future leaders who will focus on public health and community-based primary care.
The Accelerating Change in Medical Education Consortium was launched by the AMA in 2013 with a $11 million grant to fund innovations in medical education at 11 medical schools in America. In 2015, the consortium was expanded to a total of 32 medical schools who are all developing newer teaching materials and strategies aimed at aligning undergraduate education with the modern-day healthcare landscape. These steps will prepare the physicians of tomorrow to adapt to changing healthcare delivery models, says Madara. Fresh graduates will be equipped to deliver value-based care when they begin practicing medicine.
By mid-December, “Health Systems Science” will be available to all students at consortium schools. The authors envision that it will serve as the initial tool from which additional resources can be built up.
The ultimate goal, however, is to widely disseminate newly developed curricula to all medical schools, even those that are not a part of the AMA consortium, says Susan E. Skochelak, MD, co-author of the textbook and Vice President of Medical Education Outcomes at AMA. We want to train physicians to understand how healthcare is received and accessed by patients, she adds.
“Health Systems Science” is available from the AMA store, Amazon, and the publisher Elsevier at a retail price of $59.99 ($54.99 for AMA members). Elsevier is also offering individual chapters for purchase at a price of $5.99.