Adding Value to the Health Care System: Identifying Value-Added Systems Roles for Medical Students

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To catalyze learning in Health Systems Science and add value to health systems, education programs are seeking to incorporate students into systems roles, which are not well described. The authors sought to identify authentic roles for students within a range of clinical sites and explore site leaders’ perceptions of the value of students performing these roles. From 2013 to 2015, site visits and interviews with leadership from an array of clinical sites (n = 30) were conducted. Thematic analysis was used to identify tasks and benefits of integrating students into interprofessional care teams. Types of systems roles included direct patient benefit activities, including monitoring patient progress with care plans and facilitating access to resources, and clinic benefit activities, including facilitating coordination and improving clinical processes. Perceived benefits included improved value of the clinical mission and enhanced student education. These results elucidate a framework for student roles that enhance learning and add value to health systems.

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