ChangeMedEd Initiative

How assessment can evolve to ensure high-quality, equitable care

Timothy M. Smith , Contributing News Writer

Medical education assessment has evolved greatly since the days of siloed multiple-choice exams. No longer seen as simply a measurement tool, assessment has incorporated the judgment of learners in the workplace as well as a robust variety of data types and sources. But with the persistent focus on how assessment is done, a more important topic has been largely overlooked: why it is done.

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A webinar featuring guest editors from a supplement in the April issue of Academic Medicine considers how the defining characteristic of the next era of assessment ought to be focusing on ensuring high-quality equitable care.

The supplement, “The Next Era of Assessment: Advancing Precision Education for Learners to Ensure High-Quality, Equitable Care for Patients,” was produced by the AMA ChangeMedEd® initiative as part of its new strategic focus on precision education—a personalized approach to medical students and physicians as they progress along the educational continuum and through their professional lives.

15 articles to shift the focus

The vision behind the supplement stems from competency-based education, which focuses on ensuring that training prepares graduates to provide the care patients need and applying a learner-centered approach to education. It also promotes precision education as an approach that meets learners where they are in their development and helps them take the specific next steps they need to grow as physicians.

Another way of describing precision education is delivering the right education to the right physician at the right time.

The webinar’s presenters called out several of the supplement’s 15 articles to highlight where they think the dialog on assessment ought to go. Those articles include:

  1. The Next Era of Assessment: Can Ensuring High-Quality, Equitable Patient Care Be the Defining Characteristic?

    1. “This is where we're coming at the idea of ‘Why?’ to ensure high quality, equitable patient care,” said Daniel J. Schumacher, MD, PhD, chair of the Education Research Group at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. It frames the supplement by envisioning a next era of assessment that leans into this timeless question.
  2. Precision Education: The Future of Lifelong Learning in Medicine.”

    1. Working from a diagram that looks a lot like a plan-do-study-act model but instead uses inputs, insights, intentions and outcomes, “the idea here is that this precision-education loop—the opportunity to learn about people and provide lifelong learning—can be applied to different levels of learners,” said Sanjay Desai, MD, chief academic officer and group vice president of medical education at the AMA.
  3. Ambulatory Long Block: A Model of Precision Education and Assessment for Internal Medicine Residents.”

    1. This article focuses on how to emphasize continuity of care in the clinical learning environment by looking at a case study of a primary care training program that led to disaffection and subpar clinical and learning outcomes. Each resident got a panel of 175–200 patients they were responsible for through the EHR, and they developed clinical performance metrics that were reviewed at weekly meetings, when residents received personalized feedback on their contributions to those outcomes. “This really shows how precision education and assessment can come to life,” Dr. Schumacher said.
  4. Navigating the Landscape of Precision Education: Insights From On-the-Ground Initiatives.”

    1. Three precision education programs were brought together to answer several crucial questions, according to Sally Santen, MD, PhD, associate dean for medical education research and innovation at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. Those questions include: How much time do residents really spend at the bedside? And: Does that result in those residents’ having better well-being?
  5. Precision Education and Equity: A Participatory Framework to Advance Equitable Assessment.”

    1. “This paper provides actionable recommendations on how precision education may advance equitable assessment,” Dr. Schumacher said. “Open and transparent access to both the data and the technology for precision ed has the potential to enhance precision by fostering greater participation, rigor and potential innovation.”

The webinar, “The Next Era of Assessment: Equitable Patient Care and Precision Education for Learners” is enduring material and designated by the AMA for a maximum of one AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.

It is part of the AMA Ed Hub, an online platform with high-quality CME and education that supports the professional development needs of physicians and other health professionals. With topics relevant to you, it also offers an easy, streamlined way to find, take, track and report educational activities.

Learn more about AMA CME accreditation.