New Structure of Medical Education

Walter van den Broek
November 14, 2011

Always like a very different view of matter of opinion. Via Annemarie Cunningham discovered a thought provoking blog post: rethinking medical education from The Health Care Blog. Based on all the new medical technologies, super specializations, increasing cost of medical care, and cost of medical education, a new approach to medical education is put forward. This appraoch is mainly focused on shortening the duration of medical education in the US. Nevertheless, these ideas are worth considering also in Europe and the UK.

This blog post proposes the following structure for medical education:

  • Two years of medical education taken by all students. This common curriculum would consist of 50 percent basic science with an emphasis on competencies that would be useful to every physician. Subsequent exposure to basic science would depend on its relevance to the student’s prospective career.
  • One-third of the time would be devoted to an introduction to clinical care of individual patients, making as full use as possible of modern technologies that have been successful in training programs in industry, the armed forces, and other settings.
    One-sixth of the time would be used to cover key aspects of the health of populations and the organization and delivery of care, with emphasis on a team approach to enhance health. It is important for all physicians, regardless of prospective careers, to understand how each element fits into a health care system.

Upon completion of the two years, each student would select a track which launches him or her into the world of specialization. Here is an example of what the tracks might look like:

  • Leaders of primary care teams, possibly sub-divided into adult care, pediatric care, and geriatric care.
  • Clinical specialists in medicine, hospital based and ambulatory.
  • Clinical specialists in surgery and other procedural specialties.
  • Possibly another track for those headed for specialities such as radiology and pathology that treat medical and surgical patients.
  • A track for students whose major interest is research, possibly similar to current MD-PhD programs but with explicit recognition that the trainees are not preparing to be clinicians.

The content of the training program would differ depending on the track. For example, students training to be leaders of primary care teams would be exposed to more statistics, epidemiology, preventive medicine, and management skills than those in the other tracks. They would learn how to deploy nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and other non-physicians most effectively.

This means an early choice of specialty for med students, are they able, have a read about it on the original post with an extensive discussion.

Let me know what you think.

 

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