News and Commentary GME as an Instrument of Change: Insights from the Macy Regional Conference on Innovations in GME

“GME as an Instrument of Change to Improve the Health of Systems, Populations, and Society,” a regional conference on innovations in graduate medical education hosted by Vanderbilt University Medical Center was the first in a series of six regional conferences being sponsored by the Macy Foundation.

Ninety individuals representing 13 states from Maryland south to Florida, and west to the Mississippi River, convened at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine on February 1 to explore how we can use graduate medical education (GME) as an instrument of change. Throughout the two-day meeting, participants discussed innovations occurring in GME across the south and the constraints to innovation with a specific focus on:

  • Exciting partnerships to address underserved groups and reduce healthcare disparities.
  • Resident-led efforts to leverage data on physician practice patterns to drive behavior change within medical centers (e.g., reducing daily lab ordering).
  • Novel GME funding mechanisms at the state level to meet local and regional needs, including underserved areas.

A Diverse Crowd
Conferees included GME leaders, CEOs, CMOs, government officials (e.g., representatives from HRSA, Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services and the CDC), national patient advocates, department chairs from various medical schools, nursing leaders, medical residents, city/county health officials, and many others. The planning committee targeted this diverse group because we believe that only through cross-sector collaboration and partnership will we achieve the true end goal – better care for each person we see and better health across the entire Southern region of the United States. Also, by bringing together such a diverse group, we not only could share innovations in GME currently active in our region, but also have stakeholders not traditionally involved in GME contribute innovative ideas that should be occurring in GME to train our physicians to deliver better care both today and in the future.

An Innovation Showcase

The entire group had a chance to share their own innovations and innovative ideas through a process facilitated by Vanderbilt’s Office of Strategy and Innovation. This sharing of innovations occurred in two ways: 1) on Sunday evening, all participants rotated through a “trade show” where select participants highlighted current innovations as a prelude to the next day’s activities, and 2) on Monday, all participants actively shared both their own innovations and innovative ideas through small group activities that laid the foundation for the rest of the conference. Innovations included:

  • Vanderbilt Anesthesiology and Radiology Residency Programs: Development of “Quiz Time” – an innovation to promote asynchronous learning in order to allow residents and faculty to test their medical knowledge around questions related to key topics aligned with the Department’s clinical efforts and to track alignment of workplace learning and patient outcomes. Both residents and faculty receive automated feedback not only on their answers to the questions, but also automated patient outcome data tied to their own cases.
  • Georgia’s Strategy for Expansion of GME: A joint presentation by the Campus Associate Dean for GME of the GRU/UGA Medical Partnership and the Executive Director for the Center for Health Workforce Planning and Analysis in the University System of Georgia on how they have worked to establish new teaching hospitals and residency programs with state support.
  • Florida International University: A presentation of how they have aligned residency training with efforts to provide more effective care for underserved populations by using social determinants of health training to train more effectively the workforce of the future.

As the meeting wrapped up, attendees completed commitment cards, identifying the innovation(s) that they would further or begin work on in the next 6-12 months.

Our planning committee will follow up later this fall to assess the progress being made by the meeting participants in pursuit of their innovations. And through a listserv of both attendees and other invited individuals, we will make ongoing connections and collaborations to sustain the momentum gained at this conference.

We are very excited about the incredibly broad collection of people we assembled who have a stake in how we train physicians, the innovations related to GME that they presented, and the creative ideas they had on how we can use GME as an instrument of change. We strongly believe that the excitement and energy generated by this regional conference should (and will) continue, and can help us achieve our real goal – spreading innovation in graduate medical education to improve the health of people in the Southern region.

How Do I Learn More?
Read more about what occurred. Learn more about the conference series. Also feel free to share your thoughts and ideas in the comments box below.

Donald Brady, MD, is Senior Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education and Continuing Professional Development at Vanderbilt Medical Center.

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