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    AMA unveils tool to address ‘ever-widening gap’ in physician education

    As the industry moves toward value-based care, medical education must keep pace. On November 1, The American Medical Association (AMA) unveiled a new tool to help up-and-coming physicians thrive in the changing healthcare environment.

    That tool, which is part of the AMA’s accelerating change in medical education initiative and its effort to “create the medical school of the future,” is a textbook that focuses on health systems science, said James Madara, MD, CEO of the AMA.

    For all the advancements in medicine over the years, physician training and education hasn’t changed very much, Madara said. The result is an “ever-widening gap” between physician training and the modern realities of the medical environment.

    Madara said the medical school of the future must:

    • Incorporate tools that respond to the need of chronic disease through team-based care;

    • Focus on greater continuity of care;

    • Include more outpatient exposure;

    • Acquire and educate students on new technologies;

    • Prepare doctors to take on leadership roles; and

    • Explore “the most innovative ways to care for patients, populations, and communities.”

    Defining health systems science

    The concept of health systems science in medical education, evolved from the work done by the 32 medical schools that make up the AMA’s accelerating change in medical education consortium, said Susan E. Skochelak, MD, MPH, group vice president, medical education, AMA. These schools are collaborating to rethink medical education and share ideas and approaches.

    “Our medical schools are very good at preparing students for basic and clinical science,” such as making diagnoses and providing treatment, but they have been missing education on how healthcare is delivered in a complex system, said Skochelak.

    The health systems science textbook focuses on helping physicians hone new skills in various areas, including:

    • Value in healthcare;

    • Patient safety and quality improvement;

    • Teamwork and team science;

    • Leadership;

    • Clinical informatics;

    • Population health;

    • The social determinants of health;

    • Healthcare economics; and

    • Healthcare finance.

    Next: Real-world applications

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