This Month's News
Bringing medical education, health care delivery closer together
A recent national conference brought together health care leaders to examine new models of delivering care that can have a profound impact on the U.S. health care system.
More than 100 policy leaders and senior executives from health care systems around the country participated in the event, hosted by the AMA and the American Hospital Association (AHA) in collaboration with the journal Health Affairs.
Presentations highlighted a wide variety of new models of care already underway as the nation seeks to ensure higher care quality, enhanced care experiences and improved affordability.
One of the presentations looked at the results of a new AMA-sponsored study that identifies the factors influencing physicians' professional satisfaction, an issue of increasing importance as health reform and other forces are altering contemporary delivery and payment models.
"In particular, the study notes that the most professional satisfaction for physicians comes from being able to provide high-quality care to their patients, while obstacles to giving their patients top-notch care are what make physicians most dissatisfied in their vocation," AMA President Ardis Dee Hoven, MD, writes in a recent blog post.
The study is the first step in the AMA's strategic initiative to enhance practice sustainability and professional satisfaction through effective care delivery and payment models.
Another of the AMA's strategic focus areas is Accelerating Change in Medical Education, which seeks to close the gap between how physicians are trained and the future needs of our health care system.
The strong linkages between these two initiatives were highlighted at a conference in October that brought together leaders from the 11 medical schools selected to receive $1 million grants from the AMA for innovative projects in medical education.
For example, plenary speaker George E. Thibault, MD, president of the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, called for closer alignment of health professions education with health care practice and the needs of the public.
"If our goal is to transform patient care, we must align the educational redesign and the delivery system redesign," Dr. Thibault said. "[We need to change] the conversation about medical education from something that is seen as a burden and a cost to something that is essential to the transformation of health care."
Further, medical education, like medical care, needs to be patient-centered. "Our traditional model has been an inward-looking model—but are we turning out the people with the right skills, the right attitudes, the right behaviors, to meet the needs of the public? That should determine the curriculum."
Dr. Thibault also called for better interprofessional education. "We're not just talking about educational change, we're talking about culture change—change in how the health professions related to each other, and how we as professions relate to the public we serve."
In addition to physician satisfaction and accelerating change in medical education, the AMA's third strategic focus area is improving health outcomes, as described in the September issue of AMA MedEd Update. The goal of this effort is healthier people, better health care and lower health care costs, with a focus on preventing heart disease and type 2 diabetes and improving outcomes for those suffering from these diseases.