Taking Value to School
By: Author: Rory Hume, DDS, PhD | Aug 11, 2017 4:00 PM
University of Utah Health’s embrace of the principles of value-based health care — focused on “exceptional patient experience” as a transformational strategy — helped lead to a No. 1-in-the-nation-for-quality ranking. And outside the clinical system, administrators, researchers and educators are similarly driven to continuously improve health care education. The ultimate goal is to make health better overall.
Health sciences education runs a course parallel to health care — both are undergoing rapid change to meet the increased demand for care in an aging population. The future of each is somewhat foggy, and trainees will be working in a world we can only imagine. To prepare them to successfully navigate looming challenges, leaders and experts across the University are examining the concept of “value” as it applies to health education.
Just as the health system seeks exceptional quality, value and satisfaction for patients, an obligation exists to provide a valuable and transformative educational experience for students. Taking the first step, the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Education held an educational retreat in January 2017. From this, two goals and three pillars emerged, setting the course for academic transformation among academic partners within U of U Health. These partners include the Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, the Colleges of Nursing, Pharmacy and Health, as well as the Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library.
A "Value" Campus Tour
Increasing value in educational offerings requires aligning and integrating previously siloed activities in an expansive academic medical center. Evidence of this already happening can be found throughout campus.
The School of Medicine’s creation of an exceptional culture of learning is the starting point for innovating the educational experience across health science disciplines. A grant from the American Medical Association for value-driven education prompted the School to consider culture an important value element.
Instead of the imposing, regimented, paternalistic, one-size-fits-all models of the past, students want to be empowered to shape their education. Faculty are listening and responding to student feedback. As a result, the School’s culture is shifting for the better. Recent evaluations show that students now feel enabled, self-motivated and personally responsible for their learning. Improved Step exam scores over the past year reflect the positive impacts of the culture and curriculum changes.
Outgrowth from the School of Medicine’s success will enhance the University’s ability to share new approaches to group learning across disciplines.
The School of Dentistry’s initial focus has been on delivering a successful DDS curriculum. While the present format is firmly rooted in traditional foundations, the dental school is unique in its potential for strongly integrating oral and general health. A unified digital health record, integrated practice sites with primary care and pediatrics, and integrated oral and general health insurance are high priorities.
In partnership with the Eccles Health Sciences Library and other academic units, the dental school also provides leadership in educational technology innovation. An initial focus on virtual reality technology is pushing student engagement and speeding up the learning process.
The College of Nursing is eliminating traditional education silos, leading efforts to design an interprofessional curriculum for systems-based practice. New one-year interdisciplinary certificate programs in specialty areas give students a leg up as they enter the workforce.
The College has also been implementing initiatives to meet the needs of a diverse student population. These include simulation-based learning for undergraduates; a flexible online Master of Science program for working nurses in education, care management and informatics; and the nation’s first distance-delivery format for PhD nursing students.
The College of Pharmacy has recently overhauled its PharmD curriculum, replacing traditional courses with integrative courses in therapeutics. Each discipline is now taught in the context of its clinical relevance. This helps students better understand the interdependence of various health disciplines. The benefits were evident when Utah students significantly outperformed other students nationally on the most recent standardized pharmacy exam.
Another of the College’s curricular innovations is a required capstone research project. The goal is to instill skills and instincts that will transform students into data-driven problem solvers and engage them in real-world scenarios they are enthusiastic about.
Starting in 2017, the College of Health will introduce an active modality called Team-Based Learning through the Department of Nutrition and Integrative Physiology. The technique, which has been used with great success at other professional schools, rapidly transitions students to a mode of learning better suited for careers in clinical care and biomedical research.
Another value-enhancing effort with campus-wide impact is U of U Health’s Health’s Interprofessional Education Program (IPE). IPE offers realistic educational simulations for medicine, nursing, physician assistant, nutrition, physical therapy and occupational therapy students. Simulations prepare students to enter the workforce as productive members of interdisciplinary care teams and equips them with cooperation and leadership skills.
Hop on the Bus
These shared examples paint a vivid picture. In a new era of health care delivery, U of U Health’s students and trainees work toward a system that has yet to be realized. Universities have a unique opportunity to enhance value for students by training them to be ready for the future. Learning to work in teams and to identify and discuss complex drivers of health will give them the agility to adapt to whatever that future may hold.
Increased integration among clinical, educational and research enterprises will allow the University to further leverage institutional strengths to inspire and encourage student innovation. In every corner of this academic health system, great potential exists for value to transform health education, thereby improving overall health for everyone.comments powered by Disqus