« December 2012 | Main | March 2013 »

January 28, 2013

Who pays for that (Part 2: The AMA)

I'd like to boast that this blog gets results when the AMA announces $10 million in med ed grants over the next 5 years to spur educational innovation.

The profession has a stake in raising a competent and admirable next generation. Why shouldn't they help pay it? Cheers to the AMA on this one.

Posted by rbrent at 06:42 AM | Comments (0)

January 17, 2013

Gaze-Down! Medical Education Feb 2013

The February 2013 issue of Medical Education is online!

There's a pretty cool, pretty simple study showing how endoscopic training on a gaze-down display leads to superior performance than training on a gaze-up display. It is surprising how many medical devices and techniques I've encountered assume the doctor or nurse is able to manipulate something while looking at a display screen somewhere else. Even video gamers address the screen head-on. Why, when the stakes are so much higher, do we like doctors to crane their necks?

Posted by rbrent at 06:27 AM | Comments (0)

Med Ed Buildings

When I was at Iowa, there was a new Med Ed building just finished and it was a big deal: learning communities! practice rooms for SP and physical exam skills!

At Michigan we don't have a special Med Ed building, though we do have a "Learning Resource Center" and a "Clinical Simulation Center" housed in different parts of the hospital/bioscience complex.

How big of a deal is it for a medical school, embedded in a big university hospital to have a dedicated building for medical education? Is it worth $75 million?

Posted by rbrent at 06:19 AM | Comments (0)

January 08, 2013

Also, we need more teachers

What happens to medical education as undergraduate medical student enrollment rises? Canada is already finding teaching time rising precipitously. How do we keep the growth and ensure high quality education?

The options, as I see them, are:

  1. More teachers or teacher hours
  2. More efficient curricula

What am I missing? Teaching takes time and content. Which gives us better leverage over education efficiency? It's an empirical question.

Posted by rbrent at 10:18 AM | Comments (0)

Gov. Otter should match UME slots with GME slots

The governor of Idaho wants to add 5 more slots for western state students to attend UWashington at in-state tuition rates. Nothing wrong with that: those students are likely to add to the healthcare workforce in their home states after their training. But not if they can't get into a residency program.

Gov. Otter should set up 5 state-sponsored residency slots in Idaho to match.

Posted by rbrent at 06:35 AM | Comments (0)

January 07, 2013

Ex-Surgeon General: Add Computer Science to Medical School

Dr. Koop (yes, that Dr. Koop) is the senior author on a paper suggesting that doctors should also be computer scientists (click to download the pdf).

From the paper:

But fundamentally, very few physicians have formal CS training. We are therefore hamstrung in implementing IT solutions. We are unqualified to participate in designing and developing transformative applications. We are poorly equipped to apply the intellectual rigor of CS in research and clinical problem solving.

The solution?

To overcome this problem, one solution is to incorporate a formal, medicine-specific [computer science] curriculum as the third pillar of medical education.

The argument?

But [computer science] and medicine revolve around the same core processes: the gathering, storage, and interpretation of data.


As a pillar of medical education, [computer science] benefits medical students and physicians in two discrete domains: critical thinking and lifelong learning. The optimal time for this training is during the preclinical years of medical school.

I can't even begin to describe how wrong I think this is. Train medical students to be doctors. They don't have to be chemists. They don't have to be physicists. They don't have to be anatomists, zoologists, or even biologists. They certainly don't have to be computer scientists any more than they have to be psychologists, sociologists, dieticians, anthropologists, or population geneticists.

Medicine is not a science: it is a discipline. Doctors are not scientists: they are doctors.

Posted by rbrent at 06:58 AM | Comments (0)


Theater is an excellent training model for doctor-patient communication. When I did theater (as a lad), most of the work was spent getting into the head of the character and finding the character's motivation for being in any particular scene. I can't say it was how I got started in studying psychology, but it was certainly my first taste of psychology in an academic setting.

Posted by rbrent at 06:51 AM | Comments (0)

Happy New Year

Let's make better doctors for a healthier world. We can do it faster. We can do it cheaper.

Posted by rbrent at 06:49 AM | Comments (0)