New England Journal of Medicine Perspective Builds on Initiatives from ABIM Foundation Forum

Transforming Graduate Medical Education to Improve Health Care Value– New England Journal of Medicine Perspective Builds on Initiatives from ABIM Foundation Forum

Philadelphia, PA — A new perspective in a recent issue of New England Journal of Medicine calls for a transformation of the graduate medical education (GME) system to ensure the sustainability of the United States health care system in light of the country’s growing geriatric population.

The authors, Glenn Hackbarth JD, and Cristina Boccuti, MA, MPP, argue that as currently designed, the GME system excels at training physicians and clinicians in cutting-edge technology and patient care. However, “that success and frame of reference are no longer adequate. The GME system must join others in transforming the U.S. health care system into an economically sustainable enterprise that provides appropriate care for all Americans.”

The article, Transforming Graduate Medical Education to Improve Health Care Value builds on work initiated by attendees at the ABIM Foundation’s 2010 Forum: Transforming Medical Education and Training: Meeting the Needs of Patients and Society. Hackbarth, Chair of the ABIM Foundation Board of Trustees, led the organization’s focus on this issue.

As part of the Foundation’s continued efforts to advance medical professionalism, the Forum convened leaders in academic medicine, certifying and accrediting organizations, practicing clinicians and trainees, patients, consumers, payers and policymakers to assess gaps in the medical training environment and develop a collective strategy to drive change.

“There are longstanding concerns that despite the nation’s sizeable investment in medical education and training, the physician workforce is not well-aligned with national health care needs,” said Christine Cassel, MD, President and CEO of the American Board of Internal Medicine and ABIM Foundation. “Working together in candor and common cause, the profession and the public have the means to transform medical education and training to better meet the needs of patients and society.”

Attendees defined the core elements of a contemporary social compact for medical education and training. The resulting Principles for the Social Compact for Medical Education and Training articulates expectations for training the physician workforce needed to support 21st century health care, and what society needs to contribute in turn.

In line with principles extolled in the Social Compact, the Hackbarth and Boccuti conclude that an important step to a more effective and sustainable health care system is to match the content of training with anticipated needs, but that it is not the government’s role and should be a “partnership among GME faculties, residency-accreditation and physician-certifying organizations, insurers, and patient representatives.”


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