Accelerating Change in Medical Education

Learning to see beyond the patient in the room

Population-health management is proving to be a key concept in the evolution of medical education curriculum. That topic, and closely related practices such as identifying and addressing the social determinants of health, struck a chord with AMA Wire® readers in 2017. Here is a look at this year’s three top stories examining how innovative medical educators are incorporating population health as part of a broader focus on health systems science.

Population health management makes its way to med school. With more health care data available than ever, physicians are being asked to think in broader terms. Population health management, which focuses on health outcomes for a group of individuals rather than a single patient, has become a point of emphasis as across-the-board quality health outcomes have become a more significant metric for success in medicine.

Population health should be major focus in remaking med ed. As the dean of Jefferson College of Population Health—the nation’s first college dedicated to the practice—David B. Nash, MD, was a man ahead of his time. That said, he’s happy to watch the medical education community catch up.

Since Jefferson, part of Philadelphia’s Thomas Jefferson University, launched its program in 2008, at least four other schools focusing on population health have sprung up. In addition, other medical school programs have made population health a central component of their curricula.

Hotspotting gives med students insight on vulnerable patients. A student-driven program at the University of North Carolina is aiming to cut health care costs and improve the quality of care provided to some of the most vulnerable patients, and it is using compassion as a primary tool to help accomplish those objectives.