Improving Learner Handovers in Medical Education
Multiple studies have demonstrated that the information included in the Medical Student Performance Evaluation fails to reliably predict medical students’ future performance. This faulty transfer of information can lead to harm when poorly prepared students fail out of residency or, worse, are shuttled through the medical education system without an honest accounting of their performance. Such poor learner handovers likely arise from two root causes: (1) the absence of agreed-on outcomes of training and/or accepted assessments of those outcomes, and (2) the lack of standardized ways to communicate the results of those assessments. To improve the current learner handover situation, an authentic, shared mental model of competency is needed; high-quality tools to assess that competency must be developed and tested; and transparent, reliable, and safe ways to communicate this information must be created.
To achieve these goals, the authors propose using a learner handover process modeled after a patient handover process. The CLASS model includes a description of the learner’s Competency attainment, a summary of the Learner’s performance, an Action list and statement of Situational awareness, and Synthesis by the receiving program. This model also includes coaching oriented towards improvement along the continuum of education and care. Just as studies have evaluated patient handover models using metrics that matter most to patients, studies must evaluate this learner handover model using metrics that matter most to providers, patients, and learners.