SAN DIEGO — The American Medical Association (AMA) today adopted new policy expanding its efforts aimed at ensuring all medical students and residents receive training in health care economics. Building on the AMA’s ongoing work to transform the way future physicians are trained to deliver care within modern health systems, the new policy encourages medical schools and residency programs to include basic content related to the structure and financing of the current health care system in their curricula.

Specifically, the AMA calls on medical schools and residency programs to incorporate content on the organization of health care delivery, modes of practice, practice settings, cost effective use of diagnostic and treatment services, practice management, risk management, and quality assurance. The policy also calls on these programs to ensure that medical students and residents are presented with content related to the environment and economics of medical practice in fee-for-service, managed care and other financing systems at an educationally appropriate time during their training.

“While many medical schools and residency programs currently provide students and residents with training in health care financing, it has become clear that future physicians require further instruction to ensure they are well-prepared to deliver care to patients in modern health systems,” said AMA Immediate Past President Barbara L. McAneny, M.D. “Medical students and residents with a deeper understanding of cost, financing, and medical economics, will be better equipped to provide more cost-effective care that will have a positive impact for patients and the health care system as a whole. We will continue working to ensure future physicians are ready on day one to meet the needs of patients in the modern health care environment.”

The new policy expands on the AMA’s work over the last several years to incorporate Health Systems Science curriculum, which provides training on medical economics, throughout medical schools and residency programs. Health Systems Science emerged in 2016 as one of the major innovations developed through the AMA’s Accelerating Change in Medical Education Consortium, and is now considered the third pillar of medical education that should be integrated with the two existing pillars—basic and clinical sciences.

The AMA has developed numerous resources, including the AMA’s Health Systems Science textbook, to help ensure physicians-in-training enter practice with a better understanding of how health care is delivered, how health care professionals work together to deliver care, and how they can improve patient care and health care. To date, the textbook has sold more than 4,000 copies worldwide and is being used in more than 30 medical and health professions schools and residency programs. The second edition of the textbook is currently in development and is expected to be published in 2020.

Most recently, the AMA published its new Health Systems Science Review book—the first study tool of its kind—to help physicians-in-training and other health professionals, as well as their instructors, evaluate competencies in Health Systems Science and learners’ readiness for navigating modern health systems. This includes competencies in value-based care and health care policy and economics. Both the textbook are review book are available for purchase at the AMA Bookstore.

The AMA also recently announced a series of free, online education modules for students to help them develop competencies in Health Systems Science. The first six modules in the new Health Systems Science Learning Series are available for free through the AMA Ed HubTM. Additionally, through its Graduate Medical Education Competency Education Program (GCEP), the AMA also offers a series of online educational modules designed to complement teachings in residency and fellowship programs—including a module on how payment models affect patient care and costs.

To help ensure medical and other health professions students are proficient in Health Systems Science, the AMA is also currently working with the National Board of Medical Examiners to develop a standardized exam, which is expected to be available later this year.

The AMA will continue its efforts to drive the future of medicine by reimagining medical education, training and lifelong learning—ensuring physicians are better equipped to provide care in the rapidly-evolving health care environment.

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About the American Medical Association

The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care.  The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.