Medical education and training programs generally have been slow to introduce curriculum content that reflects important changes in practice organization and health services delivery. However, impetus for curricular reform is gaining momentum as national organizations endorse new content for both medical school and residency education.
The authors and colleagues at Tufts Managed Care Institute reviewed nine reports by key national organizations to assess their positions on curricular reform in light of changes in practice and the system of care. The reports agree generally on the evolving nature of practice, the need to address these changes during medical school and residency training, and the description of the new curriculum content that they advocate. The authors grouped these reports' specific recommendations under ten curriculum domains: health care system overview; population-based care; quality measurement and improvement; medical management; preventive care; physician—patient communication; ethics; teamwork and collaboration; information management and technology; and practice management. They describe the reports' rationales and cite specific knowledge and skills that these national organizations identify within each domain. This domain-based framework synthesizes and complements the recommendations of these national organizations.
The authors conclude that implementing curricular reform remains a challenge. The information and competencies need to be organized and sequenced for stage of training and specialty, and barriers to change require strategic and operational planning. Having a common nomenclature and framework will facilitate the introduction of new content within schools and programs, across departments, and among institutions nationwide.