Training professionals for a healthcare industry in transition, with widespread worries regarding physician shortages, pressure on time and resources, and heavy workloads seen to negatively impact patient care, medical educators find themselves amid a transition of their own. The accelerating shift to an integrated systems-based curriculum and sweeping pressure to adopt interdisciplinary learning is raising questions among educators seeking to determine optimal approaches for preparing the physicians of the future.
In embracing a more hands-on role in its medical education practice, Flad has had opportunities to be part of this national debate. One such discussion, convened by the Institute for the Future of Medical Education in Atlanta, brought together two dozen medical school deans, leaders of universities and academic health consortia, and key theorists and principals in such areas as informatics, human genomics, hospital and care setting design, and multidisciplinary systems thinking. The two-day workshop explored the current state of medical education and future challenges and opportunities, and prioritized action needs including a leadership development initiative and the establishment of a new learning platform incorporating a systems approach. Differences of opinion could be expected given the group's breadth of expertise, but a general consensus emerged about the effect that rapid changes in science and technology are bound to have on the development of a model education and training system. The challenge is and will be to design it with flexibility and adaptability so healthcare workers can develop the varied skill sets that the future delivery of medical care will require.
Given the sea change in medical education curriculums, and the widespread desire to prepare providers for healthcare's "future state," our leadership benefited greatly from being part of the strategic dialogue at the IFME colloquium. The result of the workshop was a long list of ideas for positioning the patient and the patient experience at the center of training, and new care delivery innovations based on team care models.