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Practice Matters

News from Lola Butcher about health policy and practice management issues of importance to oncologists

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Medical School, Reimagined

If you were choosing a medical school today, what would you look for?


The recent announcement that Kaiser Permanente, one of the country’s largest healthcare delivery and payment systems, plans to open the Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine in fall 2019 got me thinking about that.


Kaiser joins a raft of new medical schools trying to head off the predicted physician shortage. Three schools received preliminary accreditation earlier this year, giving the U.S. a record 144 medical schools. Together with established medical schools, they will try to address the broad dissatisfaction with graduate medical education in America.


The Institute of Medicine’s 2014 Graduate Medical Education That Meets the Nation's Health Needs report was summarized by Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Don Goldmann this way:


“The IOM report correctly notes that the current system produces a physician workforce that is not sufficiently diverse, is over-weighted towards specialty rather than primary care, and is mal-distributed, creating shortages in rural and underserved communities. Medical residents spend a disproportionate amount of time on hospital wards rather than in primary care clinics or the community. Despite recent progress in some programs, residents generally leave training with inadequate competencies in interprofessional teamwork, coordination of care, cultural sensitivity, health economics and ‘right use’ of diagnostic tests and treatments, quality improvement, and (surprisingly) health information technology and mobile health (or mHealth).”


The folks at Kaiser Permanente must have read the report. The press release announcing their plans said the new school will “redesign physician education” by:

·    Providing high-quality care outside of traditional medical settings;

·    Acknowledging the importance of collaboration and teamwork to inform treatment decisions;

·    Addressing disparities in health;

·    Promoting cultural competency and understanding; and

·    Teaching advanced skills in decision-making, teamwork, the use of technology, evidenced-based medicine and communication tailored to specific populations.


“Opening a medical school and influencing physician education is based on our belief that the new models of care mean we must reimagine how physicians are trained,” Bernard Tyson, Chairman and CEO of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, said in the release.