Improving Oversight of the Graduate Medical Education Enterprise: One Institution’s Strategies and Tools

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Abstract

Accreditation organizations, financial stakeholders, legal systems, and regulatory agencies have increased the need for accountability in educational processes and curricular outcomes of graduate medical education. This demand for greater programmatic monitoring has placed pressure on institutions with graduate medical education (GME) programs to develop greater oversight of these programs. Meeting these challenges requires development of new GME management strategies and tools for institutional GME administrators to scrutinize programs, while still allowing these programs the autonomy to develop and implement educational methods to meet their unique training needs. At the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), senior administrators in the college of medicine felt electronic information management was a critical strategy for success and thus proceeded to carefully select an electronic residency management system (ERMS) to provide functionality for both individual programs and the GME enterprise as a whole. Initial plans in 2002 for a phased deployment had to be changed to a much more rapid deployment due to regulatory issues. Extensive communication and cooperation among MUSC’s GME leaders resulted in a successful deployment in 2003. Evaluation completion rates have substantially improved, duty hours are carefully monitored, patient safety has improved through more careful oversight of residents’ procedural privileges, regulators have been pleased, and central GME administrative visibility of program performance has dramatically improved. The system is now being expanded to MUSC’s medical school and other health professions colleges. The authors discuss lessons learned and opportunities and challenges ahead, which include improving tracking of development of procedural competency, establishing and monitoring program performance standards, and integrating the ERMS with GME reimbursement systems.

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