Creating a National Curriculum Inventory to Meet the Needs of All

Terri Cameron, Association of American Medical Colleges

In 2010, the need for a centralized national curriculum inventory was becoming more apparent, literally by the day. Data entry was a very manual and cumbersome process, and systems were not able to collaborate and share data. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) engaged leaders from MedBiquitous, opening a new project that spanned for two years, and leading ultimately to the launch of a new, integrated system capable of importing data, benchmarking curricula, and identifying new opportunities for collaboration among academic medical centers.

“About 40 people from various organizations came together to share opinions and provide input on what they needed,” said Terri Cameron, Director of Curriculum Programs for the AAMC. “These discussions clarified our structure and functionality needs for the development of a new curriculum database, and also made the need for standardized vocabulary and competencies clear.”

The new curriculum database was implemented in 2012, complete with standardized vocabulary and a competency reference set. Since then the new system has been adopted by 141 medical schools, each of which participates in an annual data upload for the purposes of sharing and comparing curriculum content, resources and analytics.

“The system we created is seamless and can interpret data from all curriculum management systems,” said Cameron. “It’s also led to significant quality improvement strides for many schools, because today, we are all using a common language for pedagogy and competencies. Before, it was difficult to understand who was doing what and who needed what. Now we can make true comparisons and find the answers we need, quickly and easily.”

Cameron and a group of approximately 40 professionals continue to convene bi-monthly, to discuss what is working well and where opportunities exist for ongoing system improvement. Over time, the group has leveraged knowledge and developments that have been made by other MedBiquitous working groups. This, Cameron explains, is one example of why being part of MedBiquitous is so beneficial.

“MedBiquitous brings us all together into one big think tank, where ideas can be shared and no one needs to reinvent the wheel,” she said. “The work we do goes beyond what any one individual institution needs, or even what all of us need right now. We are motivated to think about the future, and come up with plans and new systems that will work for everyone, long-term. We end up with so much more than we ever could have come up with on our own.”