Sophisticated Information Technology Informs Patient Care at Intermountain

By Jennifer J. Salopek

Utah’s Intermountain Health has been using sophisticated information technology systems to track patient outcomes and prompt best practices for 15 years, and has had electronic health records for 40 years, says Stanley M. Huff, MD, Chief Medical Informatics Officer. Huff shared many of Intermountain’s challenges and successes in a session at the AAMC annual meeting in Chicago in November. Huff is also a clinical professor at the University of Utah, where he teaches a course in medical information standards, which he describes as “a big help to analytics.” A key challenge in data-driven medicine, according to Huff, is “getting good, standard, structured, coded data to the people who do the analytics.”

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Kindness Beyond Curriculum

By Robert Folberg, MD

It was the last event of my intensive two-day interview for the position of founding dean of the new Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine (OUWB) in Southeast Michigan. The questions at dinner about curriculum, finances, facilities, faculty, and the future of health care delivery were interrupted by a health system leader who asked quietly, “Bob, I know you can train a medical student to be academically brilliant and technically masterful. We want to know how you train a physician to be kind.”

Six years later, in July 2014 as we prepared to enroll our fourth class, the Detroit News wrote about us and our “kindness curriculum.” What had happened since that dinner?

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Innovative App Automates Resident Evaluations for ERAS

By Sara Menso

I was hired by the University of Maryland School of Medicine in April of 2011. My manager, Kevin Brown, asked me to make things run more efficiently. I asked for a year to see how everything worked and I would see what I could do. I had never worked within a medical school, but one thing everyone seemed to be talking about was the upcoming MSPE season. It sounded like a huge, daunting project.

The Medical Student Performance Evaluation is a very detailed transcript of a medical student’s career. It is sent to residency programs as part of the residency application, and every medical school must create one for every fourth-year student applying to residency. From the way my co-workers were talking, I knew this document was very important: It could change the trajectory of a medical student’s life. But its creation was tedious and time-consuming.

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Transmitting Temporal Understanding in Residency Training

By Eran Bellin, MD

Time Time Time

See what’s become of me

— Paul Simon, “A Hazy Shade of Winter”

Medical residents are survivors, spending more than a decade running a punishing mind gauntlet. SATs, MCATs, Boards Part 1 & 2 are time-pressured, multiple-choice exams evaluating functionally defined competencies. What comes out of this mental meat grinder are people trained to spasmodically and rapidly associate one of four responses with singular rightness.

There is a pedagogical cost to this process—a cost manifest with a discomfort with uncertainty and an expectation that rightness is clear and instantly recognizable by those who are worthy. The elect are known by their success. The notion of iterative revelation of approximate truth through ongoing observation, experimentation, and evaluation is not philosophically reinforced.

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Innovative High and Middle School Programs Can Increase Pipeline Diversity

By Marc Nivet, EdD, MBA, and Jennifer J. Salopek

As educational institutions seek to address the looming doctor shortage in the United States and to create a physician workforce that more closely resembles the patient population, programs that help to create diverse and inclusive environments—such as high and middle school pipeline programs—can help us to meet these goals. Medical students across the country have worked to create programs in their communities that open up the possibilities of careers in medicine. This work must be encouraged, promoted, and replicated.

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Responding to the Need for Innovation in GME

By Jennifer Kesselheim, MD, MEd & Ayres Heller, MEd

One of the most exciting developments in medical education happened last summer when the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a new report, “Graduate Medical Education That Meets the Nation’s Health Needs.” The report was requested in 2012 by the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation and supported by 11 other private foundations as well as 11 United States Senators. The Report Brief outlines the IOM’s intriguing conclusions about the governance and financing of Graduate Medical Education (GME).  The recommendations highlight the immense need for innovation in the way Graduate Medical Education is structured, distributed, designed, and implemented. The report suggests that a portion of the Medicare GME fund be designated as a “Transformation Fund,” intended to finance innovation and experimentation in GME.

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Be Bold, Be Brief, Be Brilliant, Be Gone

By Ulfat Shaikh, MD

Originally posted December 11, 2014

“I didn’t have the time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one,” said Mark Twain.

Marketing and communication experts know that well-crafted and memorable health communication messages are brief, high-impact, and visual. Research shows that the average attention span is as little as eight seconds. Most information transmitted to the brain is visual, and images are processed several thousand times faster by the brain than text.

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Medical Education: Toy Airplane or Stone Flywheel?

By James T. McDeavitt, MD

Originally posted December 14, 2014

Balsa Wood Propeller AirplaneJack Nicklaus, during his first full year as a professional golfer, defeated the heavily favored Arnold Palmer to win the 1962 US Open, launching one of the greatest careers in professional sports.  Would it surprise you to learn that following this achievement, Nicklaus was quoted as saying, “I have golf all figured out now.  Now that I have mastered the game, I should be competitive for the next several decades”?  It should surprise you, because it is not true.  On the contrary, Nicklaus returned to his long-time teacher Jack Grout at the beginning of each golf season to revisit his fundamentals.  It may be apocryphal, but it is widely repeated that Nicklaus would approach Grout every year and reintroduce himself — “I’m Jack Nicklaus, and I want to learn how to play golf”.

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