AMA Creates Textbook to Train Physicians on Value-Based Care

As part of its ongoing effort to develop bold, innovative ways to improve physician training, the American Medical Association (AMA) launched a new health systems textbook that will help physicians navigate the changing landscape of modern healthcare, according to a press release.

The textbook, parts of which are already in use in medical schools across the country, comes out as the nation’s healthcare system moves toward value-based care. The AMA’s Accelerating Change in Medical Education Consortium has developed a formalized strategy and textbook that can be used by all medical schools to ensure that future physicians learn how to deliver care that meets the needs of patients in modern health systems.

“We know that the way healthcare is being delivered is changing, but until now those changes have not been widely incorporated into the way we teach our physicians. Our medical schools are very good at preparing students for the basic and clinical sciences that are paramount to providing care to patients, but what is largely missing is how to deliver that care in a complex health system,” said AMA CEO James L. Madara, MD. “By working together with our Consortium schools, we are taking the right steps to prepare tomorrow’s physicians to be equipped to quickly adapt to the changing healthcare landscape and provide value-based care as soon as they enter practice.”

The AMA collaborated with its 32-school Consortium to identify the innovations needed to create the medical school of the future. “Health Systems Science” emerged as the third pillar of medical education that should be integrated with the two existing pillars: basic and clinical sciences. Together, the AMA and the 11 founding Consortium schools wrote a textbook to formalize this concept to help medical schools across the country teach their students the knowledge, skills and behaviors they will need to deliver care in the rapidly changing healthcare environment while also understanding how patients receive and access that care.

The new “Health Systems Science” textbook focuses on value in healthcare, patient safety, quality improvement, teamwork and team science, leadership, clinical informatics, population health, socio-ecological determinants of health, healthcare policy and healthcare economics. Many schools within the Consortium have already begun implementing Health Systems Science into their curricula and will soon use the textbook with their students, including Penn State College of Medicine and Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School.

Penn State College of Medicine launched its new Systems Navigation Curriculum in August 2014, thanks in part to a $1 million grant from the AMA. Penn State collaborated with its health system leaders to design the new curriculum to meet the needs of the health system. The program, which embeds first-year medical students working as patient navigators in clinical sites throughout central Pennsylvania, was created to ensure students learn not only the basic and clinical sciences, but also health systems science. This is an important innovation given that the majority of medical students still receive their training in hospital settings despite the fact that the majority of patients are now being cared for in out-patient settings to treat chronic conditions.

Brown University, which also received a $1 million AMA grant to support its curriculum transformation, created its Primary Care-Population Medicine program—awarding graduates both a Doctor of Medicine and a Master of Science in Population Medicine. The first-in-the-nation program is designed to develop physicians who, with training focused on population health, can be future leaders in community-based primary care at the local, state or national level.

Both Penn State and Brown have received advanced chapters of the new “Health Systems Science” textbook, and it will be officially available to all medical schools in mid-December. The textbook, published by Elsevier, will serve as a platform from which the Consortium schools will build additional Health Systems Science tools and innovations that can be shared throughout the nation’s medical schools.

“Our goal is to enable all medical schools across the country, not just those working with the AMA’s Consortium, to access this innovative work and the Consortium’s expertise to make sure their students become physicians who understand how patients receive and access care in today’s healthcare systems,” said AMA Vice President for Medical Education Outcomes Susan E. Skochelak, M.D.

The AMA launched its Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative in 2013—providing $11 million in grants to fund major innovations at 11 of the nation’s medical schools. Together, these schools formed a Consortium that shares best practices with a goal of widely disseminating the new and innovative curricula being developed. The AMA expanded its Consortium in 2015 with grants to an additional 21 schools to develop new curricula that better align undergraduate medical education with the modern healthcare system.

The AMA will continue its efforts to accelerate change in medical education to ensure future physicians learn about the newest technologies, healthcare reforms and scientific discoveries that continue to alter what physicians need to know to practice in modern healthcare systems.

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