AMA revamps medical school education with focus on value-based care

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Although medical schools do a good job of training doctors on how to diagnose and treat diseases, they have yet to teach new physicians on how to deliver care in a value-based environment.

But that's about to change. In its ongoing efforts to create the “medical school of the future,” the American Medical Association unveiled a third area of study for new doctors that it hopes all schools will embrace.

Health system science courses will be added to AMA medical schools, in addition to the existing pillars of basic and clinical sciences.

“Emerging technologies are changing the world and practice of medicine. Yet the way we train and educate new doctors hasn’t changed that much,” AMA CEO James L. Madara, M.D., said during a conference call Tuesday with news reporters to announce the organization's plans.

As part of the initiative, the AMA collaborated with its 32-school consortium to develop a “Health Systems Science” textbook that will focus on value in healthcare, patient safety, quality improvement, teamwork and team science, leadership, clinical informatics, population health, socioecological determinants of health, healthcare policy and healthcare economics.

Medical schools within the consortium, such as the Penn State College of Medicine, have already introduced the new area of study into their curriculum, and the AMA hopes schools throughout the nation will do the same.

New doctors are graduating without the skills they need to function and navigate the system and practice successfully, said Jeffrey Borkan, M.D., assistant dean for Primary Care-Population Medicine Program Planning at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. They have no knowledge of what volume to value means or how to implement it.

“There has been an enormous amount of material developed over the past 100 years that are not covered in basic and clinical sciences,” he said.

Ultimately, by incorporating health system sciences into medical school education, Borkan said new doctors will be better able to achieve the Quardruple Aim--providing better care, improving population health, lowering healthcare costs and providing a better work-life balance for clinicians. “It will help reduce physician burnout and get the joy back in practicing medicine,” he said.