Changing Expectations: Preparing The Physician Of The Future

Author:Mr Harry Greenspun

This week we're delighted to feature an article written by our US colleague Harry Greenspun - MD, Director, Center for Health Solutions. In his 'my take' Harry discusses medical schools and their ability to prepare doctors for the new world of healthcare:

My oldest son Benjamin and I have shared a lot of great experiences, including playing in a rock band together. When he decided long ago that he wanted to follow in my footsteps and be a doctor, I knew what was in store for him. He worked incredibly hard through high school and then tirelessly in college. He suffered through organic chemistry just as I did, and, now nearing the finish line, awaits his MCAT scores. Relatively unchanged from when I took them in 1985, he will be judged on his knowledge of biology, physics, psychology, reasoning, and other pre-med requirements. With his scores in hand, he will apply, interview, and (hopefully) be accepted to medical school.

Strikingly, while the process for vetting potential medical students has changed little in the 30 years since I applied, the practice of medicine has changed dramatically. Doctors must now understand population health and value-based payment models. They must work in care teams and be able to utilize a dizzying array of new technology tools. More importantly, they must also learn to operate in a system that will not revolve around them, but will instead be consumer-centered.

We discussed this in a recent report, Preparing the doctor of the future: Medical school and residency program evolution. The expectations of physicians are changing. Instead of simply providing the highest possible quality care, many hospital CEOs want innovative leaders and clinicians, as well as employees with technology and data analytics skills. Consumers expect to partner with doctors instead of relying passively on them to make treatment decisions. And with the health care system moving toward a value-based model, physicians anticipate needing new business, health information technology (HIT), and communication skills to practice effective value-based care (VBC).

So how are medical schools evolving to prepare the physician of the future?

To prepare physicians to practice in a VBC world, medical schools like the Mayo Clinic are incorporating contemporary "health systems" education into curriculum, teaching policy, the basics of health insurance, VBC, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and government programs.

Other schools are experimenting with new...

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