Principles of Medical Education Reform

I recently served on an education subcommittee as part of a strategic planning process (cue up groans) for a large hospital system. The issue on the table was how education should look at the institution in five years. As most of you know who have participated in these kinds of things, there was a fair amount of scepticism about the process, the outcomes and recommendations and whether anything substantive would change as a result of our deliberations and recommendations.

Academic medical centers around the world are grappling with these issues . Here are my minutes from the meeting:

We should abide by and follow some guiding principles:

1. Whatever we recommend should be aligned with the vision and mission of the institution.

2. Teaching hospitals are but a part of a community of care and their roles are being redefined not just in the areas of clinical care, but research and education as well

3. The goal is to create graduates who can serve the needs of the community by improving population health, reducing per capita costs and improving the patient and provider experience.

4. Education and research are step children to clinical care. Just follow the money.

5. Education is different than training.

6. Management is different from leadership, entrepreneurship and innovation.

7. Terms like innovation, value and disruption are used often, with great passion, misinterpretation and misunderstanding.

8. Those that don't walk the talk can only come back to the well so many times.

9. Teaching is not easy or free, only considered by those who pay the bills to be so.

10. What, who, when,and how we teach and measure outcomes is insufficient, costly and badly in need of innovation.

I'm sorry, but I see we've used up all our meeting time. I know how hard it is for all of us to coordinate schedules, so we'll get back to you if we want more input.

Also, I'm sorry we didn't have time to talk about what we should do next, but you should be expecting to receive a personal copy of the strategic plan in a month or so.

Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is the President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs at