AMA Wire

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

For Medical Students

Study: Teaching cost of care can be simple, effective

It is common knowledge that rising costs pose a major threat to the U.S. health care system. Nevertheless, education in cost-conscious medicine for physicians in training remains low and somewhat controversial. To date, only 25 percent of residency programs have formal methods to teach about the cost of care.

Researchers at Scripps Mercy Hospital set out to find how effective a small educational intervention could be on resident test-ordering. The intervention consisted of four 60-minute lectures delivered to internal medicine and transitional year residents and distribution of a pocket-sized card that contained appropriateness criteria for common abdominal pain complaints, the actual hospital charge in dollars and the radiation exposure for common abdominal imaging studies.

Following the educational intervention, the mean abdominal CT scans per patient and total abdominal imaging studies per patient were significantly reduced. Meanwhile, in-hospital mortality remained steady and the average patient radiation dose decreased. The researchers calculated a total savings of $81,528 over seven months. The total cost of the intervention was estimated to be $3,605.

The researchers believe their study shows that simple, affordable educational interventions can significantly impact test-ordering behavior. Their results were published in the June edition of the Journal of Graduate Medical Education.

Rowan medical school wins Event of the Month award

Rowan University-School of Osteopathic Medicine is the latest winner of the AMA Medical Student Section's (MSS) "Event of the Month" award, which showcases recruitment, community service, education and AMA-MSS National Service Project events coordinated by individual AMA medical student sections.

Rowan University in Stratford, N.J., won for its "Healthy Hour" event held in May. The local medical student section presented health classes for middle school students on the topics of proper hand washing and healthy eating habits. Three classes were scheduled to reach 60 middle school students. The middle-schoolers participated in several fun activities and learned healthy snack options.

The AMA provided funding for the healthy snacks distributed at the events. Visit the Event of the Month web page for a detailed description.

Is your AMA medical student section holding similar events? When you request a grant through the AMA Section Involvement Grant (SIG) program, you are automatically eligible for the "Event of the Month" award, which the AMA selects each month. At the end of the school year, all monthly awards will be showcased in June at the AMA-MSS Annual Assembly Meeting and be voted on by students for one "Event of the Year" winner. Read about the 2012-13 winner.

Through the SIG program, the AMA-MSS provides an opportunity for local AMA medical student sections to:

  • Educate students about the AMA and provide an opportunity for students to get more involved.
  • Help put AMA policy into action by providing a service to medical school campuses or communities.
  • Engage in activities that focus on AMA's top priorities.