In 2008, The University of Queensland (UQ) in Australia and the Ochsner Health System (OHS) in Louisiana entered into a partnership that will allow a cohort of United States (US) citizens to enroll in an Australian medical degree program in which students will study for their first 2 years of medical school in Brisbane, Australia, and then complete the final 2 years of clinical education at OHS in New Orleans. The program's goal is to create graduates eligible to practice in Australia, New Zealand, and/or the US.
We reviewed the UQ School of Medicine–established Ochsner Clinical School (OCS) and the translation of the UQ clinical curriculum to the US.
The curriculum presented both challenges and opportunities, revealing the similarities and differences in the practice of medicine between Australia and the US. This paper highlights some of them, in terms of the healthcare systems, the health professional workforce, and medical education. For example, the healthcare system and medical school curriculum in Australia have a strong focus on primary care.
This new model in education may help train more primary care physicians for the US, providing physicians with a unique global perspective to face the future challenges of medical practice.
Australia; medical education; medical practice; United States
Although residency programs must prepare physicians who can analyze and improve their practice, practice improvement (PI) is new for many faculty preceptors. We describe the pilot of a PI curriculum incorporating a practice improvement module (PIM) from the American Board of Internal Medicine for residents and their faculty preceptors.
Residents attended PI didactics and completed a PIM during continuity clinic and outpatient months working in groups under committed faculty.
All residents participated in PI group projects. Residents agreed or strongly agreed that the projects and the curriculum benefited their learning and patient care. A self-assessment revealed significant improvement in PI competencies, but residents were just reaching a “somewhat confident” level.
A PI curriculum incorporating PIMs is an effective way to teach PI to both residents and faculty preceptors. We recommend the team approach and use of the PIM tutorial approach especially for faculty.
Standard curricula to teach Internal Medicine residents about quality assessment and improvement, important components of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education core competencies practiced-based learning and improvement (PBLI) and systems-based practice (SBP), have not been easily accessible.
Using the American Board of Internal Medicine’s (ABIM) Clinical Preventative Services Practice Improvement Module (CPS PIM), we have incorporated a longitudinal quality assessment and improvement curriculum (QAIC) into the 2 required 1-month ambulatory rotations during the postgraduate year 2. During the first block, residents complete the PIM chart reviews, patient, and system surveys. The second block includes resident reflection using PIM data and the group performing a small test of change using the Plan–Do–Study–Act (PDSA) cycle in the resident continuity clinic.
To date, 3 resident quality improvement (QI) projects have been undertaken as a result of QAIC, each making significant improvements in the residents’ continuity clinic. Resident confidence levels in QI skills (e.g., writing an aim statement [71% to 96%, P < .01] and using a PDSA cycle [9% to 89%, P < .001]) improved significantly.
The ABIM CPS PIM can be used by Internal Medicine residency programs to introduce QI concepts into their residents’ outpatient practice through encouraging practice-based learning and improvement and systems-based practice.
Internal Medicine residents; quality improvement; practiced-based learning and improvement; systems-based practice; practice improvement module
Alton Ochsner was a giant of American surgery. His career encompassed patient care, teaching, and research as symbolized on the original seal of the Ochsner Clinic. His ideas were innovative and groundbreaking on many fronts, making him and the Ochsner Clinic nationally and internationally known. Examination of his card file, a simple metal box with 3 × 5 index cards and subject dividers, gives extraordinary insight into the professional interests of this remarkable physician and surgeon.
Card file; history; Ochsner
Family practice physicians have contributed significantly to the care of maternity patients nationwide, but since the 1970s the number of family practice physicians delivering babies has decreased at a steady pace. In rural areas especially, family physicians are often the sole providers of care. Without these rural doctors providing maternal care, the risk of poor maternal/infant outcome increases. In the 1990s, it was found that residents of family medicine who are taught obstetrics all or in part by other family practice doctors are more likely to provide this kind of care when they finish residency. With this information, the Residency Review Committee that oversees national residency guidelines added the requirement that in all family practice residencies at least one practitioner must provide maternity care in an ongoing basis. To meet this challenge the country's medical training institutions quickly had to find new ways to teach and provide coverage for family practitioners involved in newborn delivery. Ochsner has developed credentialling for staff family practitioners to provide this care. Staff family practitioners are involved in the prenatal care of pregnant patients and have the opportunity to supervise their residents during labor and delivery. With the assistance of the obstetrical staff the Family Practice Residents' experience has greatly increased, reaching nearly 70 deliveries in 1998 alone with projections of over 100 for 1999.
This study seeks to evaluate the practice patterns of current combined emergency medicine/internal medicine (EM/IM) residents during their training and compare them to the typical practice patterns of EM/IM graduates. We further seek to characterize how these current residents perceive the EM/IM physician's niche.
This is a multi-institution, cross-sectional, survey-based cohort study. Between June 2008 and July 2008, all 112 residents of the 11 EM/IM programs listed by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education were contacted and asked to complete a survey concerning plans for certification, fellowship, and practice setting.
The adjusted response rate was 71%. All respondents anticipated certifying in both specialties, with 47% intending to pursue fellowships. Most residents (97%) allotted time to both EM and IM, with a median time of 70% and 30%, respectively. Concerning academic medicine, 81% indicated intent to practice academic medicine, and 96% planned to allocate at least 10% of their future time to a university/academic setting. In evaluating satisfaction, 94% were (1) satisfied with their residency choice, (2) believed that a combined residency will advance their career, and (3) would repeat a combined residency if given the opportunity.
Current EM/IM residents were very content with their training and the overwhelming majority of residents plan to devote time to the practice of academic medicine. Relative to the practice patterns previously observed in EM/IM graduates, the current residents are more inclined toward pursuing fellowships and practicing both specialties.
Albert John Ochsner was a member of a select group of medical practitioners who made their impact on medical practice and surgical techniques. He was a pioneer in microscopy and made numerous contributions to the medical literature, on topics ranging from the organization of hospitals and advances in the treatment of hernias to the conservative treatment of appendicitis. The latter was controversial but saved lives. He was an innovative surgeon and a greathearted human being who influenced the lives of his colleagues. We are pleased to inaugurate Ochsner Profiles with Albert John Ochsner, a leader in the development of surgery in the United States and Europe and a figure of vast importance in the development of Dr. Alton Ochsner's career in medicine.
Several residency program characteristics have been suggested as measures of program quality, but associations between these measures are unknown. We set out to determine associations between these potential measures of program quality.
Survey of internal medicine residency programs that shared an online ambulatory curriculum on hospital type, faculty size, number of trainees, proportion of international medical graduate (IMG) trainees, Internal Medicine In-Training Examination (IM-ITE) scores, three-year American Board of Internal Medicine Certifying Examination (ABIM-CE) first-try pass rates, Residency Review Committee-Internal Medicine (RRC-IM) certification length, program director clinical duties, and use of pharmaceutical funding to support education. Associations assessed using Chi-square, Spearman rank correlation, univariate and multivariable linear regression.
Fifty one of 67 programs responded (response rate 76.1%), including 29 (56.9%) community teaching and 17 (33.3%) university hospitals, with a mean of 68 trainees and 101 faculty. Forty four percent of trainees were IMGs. The average post-graduate year (PGY)-2 IM-ITE raw score was 63.1, which was 66.8 for PGY3s. Average 3-year ABIM-CE pass rate was 95.8%; average RRC-IM certification was 4.3 years. ABIM-CE results, IM-ITE results, and length of RRC-IM certification were strongly associated with each other (p < 0.05). PGY3 IM-ITE scores were higher in programs with more IMGs and in programs that accepted pharmaceutical support (p < 0.05). RRC-IM certification was shorter in programs with higher numbers of IMGs. In multivariable analysis, a higher proportion of IMGs was associated with 1.17 years shorter RRC accreditation.
Associations between quality indicators are complex, but suggest that the presence of IMGs is associated with better performance on standardized tests but decreased duration of RRC-IM certification.
program quality; Residency Review Committee; American Board of Internal Medicine Certifying Examination
Preparing residents for future practice, knowledge, and skills in quality improvement and safety (QI/S) is a requisite element of graduate medical education. Despite many challenges, residency programs must consider new curricular innovations to meet the requirements. We report the effectiveness of a primary care QI/S curriculum and the role of the chief resident in quality and patient safety in facilitating it.
Through the Veterans Administration Graduate Medical Education Enhancement Program, we added a position for a chief resident in quality and patient safety, and 4 full-time equivalent internal medicine residents, to develop the Primary Care Interprofessional Patient-Centered Quality Care Training Curriculum. The curriculum includes a first-or second-year, 1-month block rotation that serves as a foundational experience in QI/S and interprofessional care. The responsibilities of the chief resident in quality and patient safety included organizing and teaching the QI/S curriculum and mentoring resident projects. Evaluation included prerotation and postrotation surveys of self-assessed QI/S knowledge, abilities, skills, beliefs, and commitment (KASBC); an end-of-the-year KASBC; prerotation and postrotation knowledge test; and postrotation and faculty surveys.
Comparisons of prerotation and postrotation KASBC indicated significant self-assessed improvements in 4 of 5 KASBC domains: knowledge (P < .001), ability (P < .001), skills (P < .001), and belief (P < .03), which were sustained on the end-of-the-year survey. The knowledge test demonstrated increased QI/S knowledge (P = .002). Results of the postrotation survey indicate strong satisfaction with the curriculum, with 76% (25 of 33) and 70% (23 of 33) of the residents rating the quality and safety curricula as always or usually educational. Most faculty members acknowledged that the chief resident in quality and patient safety enhanced both faculty and resident QI/S interest and participation in projects.
Our primary care QI/S curriculum was associated with improved and persistent resident self-perceived knowledge, abilities, and skills and increased knowledge-based scores of QI/S. The chief resident in quality and patient safety played an important role in overseeing the curriculum, teaching, and providing leadership.
Physician workforce projections by the Institute of Medicine require enhanced training in geriatrics for all primary care and subspecialty physicians. Defining essential geriatrics competencies for internal medicine and family medicine residents would improve training for primary care and subspecialty physicians. The objectives of this study were to (1) define essential geriatrics competencies common to internal medicine and family medicine residents that build on established national geriatrics competencies for medical students, are feasible within current residency programs, are assessable, and address the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education competencies; and (2) involve key stakeholder organizations in their development and implementation.
Initial candidate competencies were defined through small group meetings and a survey of more than 100 experts, followed by detailed item review by 26 program directors and residency clinical educators from key professional organizations. Throughout, an 8-member working group made revisions to maintain consistency and compatibility among the competencies. Support and participation by key stakeholder organizations were secured throughout the project.
The process identified 26 competencies in 7 domains: Medication Management; Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Health; Complex or Chronic Illness(es) in Older Adults; Palliative and End-of-Life Care; Hospital Patient Safety; Transitions of Care; and Ambulatory Care. The competencies map directly onto the medical student geriatric competencies and the 6 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education Competencies.
Through a consensus-building process that included leadership and members of key stakeholder organizations, a concise set of essential geriatrics competencies for internal medicine and family medicine residencies has been developed. These competencies are well aligned with concerns for residency training raised in a recent Medicare Payment Advisory Commission report to Congress. Work is underway through stakeholder organizations to disseminate and assess the competencies among internal medicine and family medicine residency programs.
The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) Outcome Project requires that residency program directors objectively document that their residents achieve competence in 6 general dimensions of practice.
In November 2007, the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) and the ACGME initiated the development of milestones for internal medicine residency training. ABIM and ACGME convened a 33-member milestones task force made up of program directors, experts in evaluation and quality, and representatives of internal medicine stakeholder organizations. This article reports on the development process and the resulting list of proposed milestones for each ACGME competency.
The task force adopted the Dreyfus model of skill acquisition as a framework the internal medicine milestones, and calibrated the milestones with the expectation that residents achieve, at a minimum, the “competency” level in the 5-step progression by the completion of residency. The task force also developed general recommendations for strategies to evaluate the milestones.
The milestones resulting from this effort will promote competency-based resident education in internal medicine, and will allow program directors to track the progress of residents and inform decisions regarding promotion and readiness for independent practice. In addition, the milestones may guide curriculum development, suggest specific assessment strategies, provide benchmarks for resident self-directed assessment-seeking, and assist remediation by facilitating identification of specific deficits. Finally, by making explicit the profession's expectations for graduates and providing a degree of national standardization in evaluation, the milestones may improve public accountability for residency training.
Burnout is prevalent in residency training and practice and is linked to medical error and suboptimal patient care. However, little is known about how burnout affects clinical reasoning, which is essential to safe and effective care. The aim of this study was to examine how burnout modulates brain activity during clinical reasoning in physicians. Using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), brain activity was assessed in internal medicine residents (n = 10) and board-certified internists (faculty, n = 17) from the Uniformed Services University (USUHS) while they answered and reflected upon United States Medical Licensing Examination and American Board of Internal Medicine multiple-choice questions. Participants also completed a validated two-item burnout scale, which includes an item assessing emotional exhaustion and an item assessing depersonalization. Whole brain covariate analysis was used to examine blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) signal during answering and reflecting upon clinical problems with respect to burnout scores. Higher depersonalization scores were associated with less BOLD signal in the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and middle frontal gyrus during reflecting on clinical problems and less BOLD signal in the bilateral precuneus while answering clinical problems in residents. Higher emotional exhaustion scores were associated with more right posterior cingulate cortex and middle frontal gyrus BOLD signal in residents. Examination of faculty revealed no significant influence of burnout on brain activity. Residents appear to be more susceptible to burnout effects on clinical reasoning, which may indicate that residents may need both cognitive and emotional support to improve quality of life and to optimize performance and learning. These results inform our understanding of mental stress, cognitive control as well as cognitive load theory.
expertise; burnout; clinical reasoning; cognitive load; fMRI
To graduate internal medicine residents with basic competency in palliative care, we employ a two-pronged strategy targeted at both residents and attending physicians as learners. The first prong provides a knowledge foundation using web-based learning programs designed specifically for residents and clinical faculty members. The second prong is assessment of resident competency in key palliative care domains by faculty members using direct observation during clinical rotations. The faculty training program contains Competency Assessment Tools addressing 19 topics distributed amongst four broad palliative care domains designed to assist faculty members in making the clinical competency assessments. Residents are required to complete their web-based training by the end of their internship year; they must demonstrate competency in one skill from each of the four broad palliative care domains prior to graduation. Resident and faculty evaluation of the training programs is favorable. Outcome-based measures are planned to evaluate long-term program effectiveness.
Internal medicine residents; Palliative care; Faculty members; Competency Assessment Tools; Faculty training program
The American Board of Internal Medicine Certification Examination (ABIM-CE) is one of several methods used to assess medical knowledge, an Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) core competency for graduating internal medicine residents. With recent changes in graduate medical education program directors and internal medicine residents are seeking evidence to guide decisions regarding residency elective choices. Prior studies have shown that formalized elective curricula improve subspecialty ABIM-CE scores. The primary aim of this study was to evaluate whether the number of subspecialty elective exposures or the specific subspecialties which residents complete electives in impact ABIM-CE scores.
ABIM-CE scores, elective exposures and demographic characteristics were collected for MedStar Georgetown University Hospital internal medicine residents who were first-time takers of the ABIM-CE in 2006–2010 (n=152). Elective exposures were defined as a two-week period assigned to the respective subspecialty. ABIM-CE score was analyzed using the difference between the ABIM-CE score and the standardized passing score (delta-SPS). Subspecialty scores were analyzed using percentage of correct responses. Data was analyzed using GraphPad Prism version 5.00 for Windows.
Paired elective exposure and ABIM-CE scores were available in 131 residents. There was no linear correlation between ABIM-CE mean delta-SPS and the total number of electives or the number of unique elective exposures. Residents with ≤14 elective exposures had higher ABIM-CE mean delta-SPS than those with ≥15 elective exposures (143.4 compared to 129.7, p=0.051). Repeated electives in individual subspecialties were not associated with significant difference in mean ABIM-CE delta-SPS.
This study did not demonstrate significant positive associations between individual subspecialty elective exposures and ABIM-CE mean delta-SPS score. Residents with ≤14 elective exposures had higher ABIM-CE mean delta-SPS than those with ≥15 elective exposures suggesting there may be an “ideal” number of elective exposures that supports improved ABIM-CE performance. Repeated elective exposures in an individual specialty did not correlate with overall or subspecialty ABIM-CE performance.
Resident education; Gender; Elective; Subspecialty; Graduate medical education
To examine the effects of resident and attending physician gender on the evaluation of residents in an internal medicine training program.
Large urban academic internal medicine residency program.
During their first 2 years of training, 132 residents (85 men, 47 women) received a total of 974 evaluations from 255 attending physicians (203 men, 52 women) from 1989 to 1995.
The primary measurements were the numerical portions of the American Board of Internal Medicine evaluation form. Separate analyses were performed for each of the nine evaluation dimensions graded on a scale of 1 to 9. The primary outcome was the difference in the average scores received by each resident from male versus female attending physicians.
Compared with female trainees, male residents received significantly higher scores from male attending physicians than from female attending physicians in six of the nine dimensions: clinical judgment, history, procedures, relationships, medical care, and overall. Similar trends, not reaching conventional levels of statistical significance, were observed in the other three categories: medical knowledge, physical exam, and attitude. These differences ranged from 0.24 to 0.60 points, and were primarily due to higher grading of male residents by male attending physicians than by female attending physicians.
In one academic training program, we found a significant interaction in the grading process between the gender of internal medicine residents and the gender of their attending evaluators. This study raises the possibility that subtle aspects of gender bias may exist in medical training programs.
interprofessional relations; social environment; teaching; internship; residency
PROBLEM ADDRESSED: Opportunities for residents in a family medicine program to experience continuity of care with a group of patients and to be immersed in the role of a family physician were thought by faculty to be insufficient. OBJECTIVES OF THE PROGRAM: To enhance residents' experience of continuity of care with a group of patients; to create a model for training that better simulates clinical practice; and to position core family medicine experiences as the central and continuing focus of the residency program. MAIN COMPONENTS OF THE PROGRAM: The new curriculum replaces block rotations in family medicine with "horizontal" experiences comprising 3 half-days of patient care and 1 half-day seminar each week for all residents through both years of the program. The remaining time in first year is spent on the major disciplines--medicine, pediatrics, emergency, and obstetrics--for which a horizontal family medicine-centred experience has also been introduced. The second-year curriculum is flexible and largely self-directed. Initial evaluations indicate improved continuity of care of family practice patients and broadened clinical exposure for residents. The program has been fully accredited by the College. CONCLUSIONS: A horizontal curriculum in family medicine, designed to address perceived deficiencies in the traditional block rotational model of training, can be developed and implemented in an urban teaching hospital.
Training in neurological surgery is one of the most competitive and demanding specializations in medicine. It therefore demands careful planning in both the scientific and clinical neurosurgery arena to finally turn out physicians that can be clinically sound and scientifically competitive. National and international training and career options are pointed out, based on the available relevant literature, with the objective of comparing the neurosurgical training in Europe and the USA. Despite clear European Association of Neurosurgical Societies guidelines, every country in Europe maintains its own board requirements, which is reflected in an institutional curriculum that is specific to the professional society of that particular country. In contrast, the residency program in the USA is required to comply with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education guidelines. Rather similar guidelines exist for the education of neurosurgical residents in the USA and Europe; their translation into the practical hospital setting and the resulting clinical lifestyle of a resident diverges enormously. Since neurosurgical education remains heterogeneous worldwide, we argue that a more standardized curriculum across different nations would greatly facilitate the interaction of different centers, allow a direct comparison of available services, and support the exchange of vital information for quality control and future improvements. Furthermore, the exchange of residents between different training centers may improve education by increasing their knowledge base, both technically as well as intellectually.
Neurosurgery; Education; Residency; Curriculum; United States; Europe
There continues to be a shortage of primary care physicians practicing within urban, Iower-socioeconomic and minority communities despite the fact that many of the 125 allopathic and 19 osteopathic medical schools are located within the affected urban cities. Recognizing a need to better train and recruit primary care physicians to serve in urban settings and provide care to those underserved. The Ohio State Department of Family Medicine established an Urban Family Medicine Residency Program headquartered in Near East Columbus, OH. Starting in 2003, the Urban Family Medicine Residency Program began training up to two residents each academic year. The mission, vision and (curriculum have attracted residency applicants and faculty who have displayed sincere interest and commitment to practicing in urban lower socioeconomic communities.
The Department of Family Medicine at the University of Washington was started ten years ago after a major curriculum change in the medical school placed new emphasis on education and training of family physicians for the surrounding region in Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho (WAMI). This department has organized active programs in patient care, teaching and research at the university base and in a number of affiliated community sites throughout the region. The department is well accepted within the mission of the medical school. Almost a third of graduating medical students choose postgraduate training in family practice. Almost 90 percent of the graduates of the ten programs within the department's network of family practice residencies are established in active family practices, with more than two thirds settling in the WAMI region. Follow-up studies show that these graduates feel well prepared for their practices; are providing a broad range of services in rural, suburban and urban settings; are typically involved in partnership or group practice; and are generally well satisfied with their personal and professional lives.
The recent establishment of primary care residencies at the University of Nevada School of Medicine has raised important questions about local priorities in the training of physicians to provide primary care for adults. Because the amount of money available for health care training is decreasing, these questions also have national importance. Primary care internal medicine, not synonymous with general internal medicine, offers distinct advantages to patients over family practice adult care and primary care offered by internist subspecialists. The University of Nevada has a singular opportunity to organize a strong primary care internal medicine residency, but national problems of internal medicine emphasis exist. Nationwide changes in internal medicine residency programs (ongoing) and American Board of Internal Medicine nationalization of the fledgling primary care internal medicine fellowship movement are suggested. Specifically proposed is an extra year for primary care training with a single examination after four years, producing general internists with a primary care “minor.” Alternately, and ideally, there would be a full two-year primary care fellowship with a separate internal medicine primary care subspecialty board examination. Either of the above options would provide necessary training and academic credibility for primary care internists, and would redirect internal medicine certification and training.
To review the literature on teaching-skills training programs for family medicine residents and to identify formats and content of these programs and their effects.
Ovid MEDLINE (1950 to mid-July 2008) and the Education Resources Information Center database (pre-1966 to mid-July 2008) were searched using and combining the MeSH terms teaching, internship and residency, and family practice; and teaching, graduate medical education, and family practice.
The initial MEDLINE and Education Resources Information Center database searches identified 362 and 33 references, respectively. Titles and abstracts were reviewed and studies were included if they described the format or content of a teaching-skills program or if they were primary studies of the effects of a teaching-skills program for family medicine residents or family medicine and other specialty trainees. The bibliographies of those articles were reviewed for unidentified studies. A total of 8 articles were identified for systematic review. Selection was limited to articles published in English.
Teaching-skills training programs for family medicine residents vary from half-day curricula to a few months of training. Their content includes leadership skills, effective clinical teaching skills, technical teaching skills, as well as feedback and evaluation skills. Evaluations mainly assessed the programs’ effects on teaching behaviour, which was generally found to improve following participation in the programs. Evaluations of learner reactions and learning outcomes also suggested that the programs have positive effects.
Family medicine residency training programs differ from all other residency training programs in their shorter duration, usually 2 years, and the broader scope of learning within those 2 years. Few studies on teaching-skills training, however, were designed specifically for family medicine residents. Further studies assessing the effects of teaching-skills training in family medicine residents are needed to stimulate development of adapted programs for the discipline. Future research should also assess how residents’ teaching-skills training can affect their learners’ clinical training and eventually patient care.
Although the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) certification is valued as a reflection of physicians’ experience, education, and expertise, limited methods exist to predict performance in the examination.
The objective of this study was to develop and validate a predictive tool based on variables common to all residency programs, regarding the probability of an internal medicine graduate passing the ABIM certification examination.
The development cohort was obtained from the files of the Cleveland Clinic internal medicine residents who began training between 2004 and 2008. A multivariable logistic regression model was built to predict the ABIM passing rate. The model was represented as a nomogram, which was internally validated with bootstrap resamples. The external validation was done retrospectively on a cohort of residents who graduated from two other independent internal medicine residency programs between 2007 and 2011.
Of the 194 Cleveland Clinic graduates used for the nomogram development, 175 (90.2%) successfully passed the ABIM certification examination. The final nomogram included four predictors: In-Training Examination (ITE) scores in postgraduate year (PGY) 1, 2, and 3, and the number of months of overnight calls in the last 6 months of residency. The nomogram achieved a concordance index (CI) of 0.98 after correcting for over-fitting bias and allowed for the determination of an estimated probability of passing the ABIM exam. Of the 126 graduates from two other residency programs used for external validation, 116 (92.1%) passed the ABIM examination. The nomogram CI in the external validation cohort was 0.94, suggesting outstanding discrimination.
A simple user-friendly predictive tool, based on readily available data, was developed to predict the probability of passing the ABIM exam for internal medicine residents. This may guide program directors’ decision-making related to program curriculum and advice given to individual residents regarding board preparation.
board examination; in-training examination; internal medicine; residents; program directors
Rapid growth in the complexity of the health care environment (including monitoring systems for health care quality and patient safety) may result in graduating internists not being adequately prepared for the demands the system places on them. In response, the Residency Review Committee for Internal Medicine created the Educational Innovations Project (EIP) to encourage select residency training programs to develop new strategies and methods to meet changing demands in graduate medical education.
As part of the EIP, our program created an innovative administrative internship. This multiyear curriculum provides systems-based practice training and consists of a series of rotations that take place during the 3 years of internal medicine residency. Each session involves close interaction with the nonphysician personnel who are instrumental in making our institution a functional and cohesive unit. To assess the potential impact of the rotations, we survey senior residents, recent graduates, and faculty educators. In conjunction with the Performance and Patient Experience departments of the hospital, we track several systems-based practice metrics for residents, including compliance with core health care measures, length of stay, and patient satisfaction.
Residents recognize the need to develop systems-based practice skills, to readily participate in structured curricula designed to enhance such skills, and to provide leadership in organizing and publishing quality improvement initiatives, and upon graduation, they may lament that they did not receive even more vigorous training in these areas.
Although internal medicine residencies continue to improve their training in systems-based practice, our experience suggests that an even greater emphasis on these skills may be warranted.
The Department of Family Medicine at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., recently undertook a pilot project to familiarize residents in family medicine with physician-related health policy issues. The objective of the project was to ease the residents' transition into practice and to equip them to participate effectively in future policy debates. All first-year residents assigned to a 4-month clinical rotation in the Department of Family Medicine took part in the program, which consisted of 5 weekly 1-hour lecture and discussion sessions. The program was offered as one component of the 130-hour core curriculum for first-year residents. Participants evaluated the program as highly informative and extremely relevant to their career plans. The authors conclude that health policy is a subject that can be incorporated into the core curriculum of residency training programs.
Defensive medicine is the practice of diagnostic or therapeutic measures conducted primarily as a safeguard against possible malpractice liability. We studied the extent, reasons, and characteristics of defensive medicine in the Israeli health care system.
Methods and Findings
Cross-sectional study performed in the Israeli health care system between April and July 2008 in a sample (7%) of board certified physicians from eight medical disciplines (internal medicine, pediatrics, general surgery, family medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, orthopedic surgery, cardiology, and neurosurgery). A total of 889 physicians (7% of all Israeli board certified specialists) completed the survey. The majority [60%, (95%CI 0·57–0·63)] reported practicing defensive medicine; 40% (95%CI 0·37–0·43) consider every patient as a potential threat for a medical lawsuit; 25% (95%CI 0·22–0·28) have previously been sued at least once during their career. Independent predictors for practicing defensive medicine were surgical specialty [OR = 1.6 (95%CI 1·2–2·2), p = 0·0004], not performing a fellowship abroad [OR = 1·5 (95%CI 1·1–2), p = 0·027], and previous exposure to lawsuits [OR = 2·4 (95%CI 1·7–3·4), p<0·0001]. Independent predictors for the risk of being sued during a physician's career were male gender [OR = 1·6 (95%CI 1·1–2·2), p = 0·012] and surgery specialty [OR = 3·2 (95%CI 2·4–4·3), p<0·0001] (general surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, orthopedic surgery, and neurosurgery).
Defensive medicine is very prevalent in daily physician practice in all medical disciplines. It exposes patients to complications due to unnecessary tests and procedures, affects quality of care and costs, and undermines doctor-patient relationships. Further studies are needed to understand how to minimize defensive medicine resulting from an increased malpractice liability market.