Healthcare Analytics, Population Health Management, Healthcare Big Data

Population Health News

AMA: Med School Must Include Population Health, EHRs, Big Data

The AMA is launching a new textbook aimed at educating medical students about population health management, EHR use, and big data analytics.

By Jennifer Bresnick

- The American Medical Association is urging medical schools to use a new textbook to train fledgling physicians in population health management, clinical informatics, and electronic health record use in an effort to prepare the workforce for a modern, data-driven environment.

Population health management, EHR use, clinical informatics, medical school education

The AMA Accelerating Change in Medical Education Consortium, which includes 32 medical schools across the nation, has worked to develop new strategies and educational materials for students, focusing on how to leverage health IT tools to deliver high quality care.  

The AMA launched the Consortium in 2013 with 11 medical school partners, devoting $11 million in funding to foster discussion about how to better integrate EHRs, informatics, and population health into the physician preparation process.

“We know that the way health care is being delivered is changing, but until now those changes have not been widely incorporated into the way we teach our physicians,” said AMA CEO James L. Madara, MD.

“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.”

To address this knowledge gap, the Consortium is launching the Health Systems Sciences textbook, which will combine with basic and clinical sciences to deliver a well-rounded education to medical school students looking to succeed in a value-based care environment.

“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 health care landscape and provide value-based care as soon as they enter practice,” Madara said.

Penn State College of Medicine and Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School are among the first to deploy the new Health Systems Science curriculum.  Each organization received $1 million in support to develop the educational strategy, and were allowed advanced access to chapters of the textbook.

At Penn State, educators launched a program that embeds first-year medical students into local health systems to serve as patient navigators, giving them a first-hand look at the challenges of working within the care continuum.  The program also allows students to gain experience in the outpatient setting, which supplements the traditional hospital-based training regimens of most medical schools.

Brown University used its AMA funding to create the Primary Care-Population Medicine track, which gives students the option to obtain a Master of Science in Population Health alongside their Doctor of Medicine degree.  

The University hopes that the dual degree program will equip newly minted physicians with the tools to become community leaders and work to improve the primary care ecosystem.

“It's time for us to take a leap forward in educating physicians for the health care delivery models of the future—those that aim to improve not just the health of the individual patient and their family, but also the community and the population,” said Jeffrey Borkan, MD, PhD, Chair of the Department of Family Medicine at Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

The Health Systems Science textbook will be available to all medical schools by the middle of December 2016, AMA officials said.

“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 health care systems,” said AMA Vice President for Medical Education Outcomes Susan E. Skochelak, MD.

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