The COVID pandemic is forcing almost every industry and company to rethink how they do business. Higher education is no exception.
Medical schools and graduate medical education programs have been slow to make fundamental changes. However, most have merely tweaked their existing models instead of making them obsolete.
The medical education model was last reformed as a result of the Flexner report in 1910. The Flexner Report of 1910 transformed the nature and process of medical education in America with a resulting elimination of proprietary schools and the establishment of the biomedical model as the gold standard of medical training. As a result, over 100 years later, " the profession’s infatuation with the hyper-rational world of German medicine created an excellence in science that was not balanced by a comparable excellence in clinical caring."
So, what should medical education and training look like to prepare graduates and trainees to win the 4th industrial revolution?
- Consolidation and improved handoffs between premed, medical school and residency training.
- Online classes replacing face to face classes simultaneously supplementing clinical training when applicable.
- Reducing tuition and overhead.
- Using data and analytics medical education technologies to pace learning.
- Eliminating invalid admission requirements that don't produce better doctors and improve equity, diversity and inclusion in admissions.
- Rethinking national boards and maintenance of certification requirements.
- Rethinking the balance between the science of medicine and the art of medicine.
- Mandating education and training in medical systems science, the business of medicine, bioinformatics, behavioral health and the impact of social determinants.
- Changing how we select, train, and promote faculty.
- Changing the rules to allow a national, if not international, medical and virtual care license.
COVID will pass. It would be a waste if it left in its wake the same medical education model that has been in place for 110 years.
Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is the President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs.