Why Medical Education Programs Need Data: Partnerships for Competency Based Education

May 17, 2016 8:00 AM – 9:30 AM

Hugh A Stoddard, PhD, Erica D Brownfield, MD, Marc Overcash, BA
Emory University School of Medicine

As medical education becomes more dependent on technology, partnerships between clinicians, educators, and IT professionals are imperative. This presentation will explain why educational data has become pivotal for medical education and how “trans-disciplinary collaboration” is necessary to manage those data.

Since 1900, medical education has transitioned, first from an apprenticeship model to university-style instruction and then, more recently, to temporally and geographically distributed models. The trend is away from face-to-face pedagogy towards ‘connect the dots’ education which occurs at multiple places and times in a complicated healthcare system. Rather than defining learning as time spent with an instructor, a learner’s experience is now represented by a compendium of data points about the learner. The cornerstone of program administration in this “competency based education” model is correlating learners’ experiences and performance to the specified outcomes. The modern challenge of leading an educational program is to collect and analyze data about learners’ experiences in order to monitor their progress and evaluate the curriculum.

Medical education in the university era has been a collaborative effort between academic physicians and education professionals where the fundamental transaction was transmission of knowledge, skills, and attitudes from a physician to a trainee with educators facilitating that transmission. Competency-based education demands the inclusion of IT professionals to manage the data about learning. These three professionals must incorporate theories and methods from all three disciplines in a trans-disciplinary collaborative effort.