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Medical Schools Teaching Students About Costs of Care

Posted on Sat, Sep 26, 2015
Medical Schools Teaching Students About Costs of Care

Importance of understanding costs due to ACA, prevalence of high-deductible plans

Many medical schools are integrating discussions of cost, value, and effectiveness into their curricula, according to Kaiser Health News.

The introduction of the Affordable Care Act, with its focus on rewarding doctors for providing high-value care, is one of the factors driving this change, according to the article. In addition, the predominance of high-deductible health plans is spurring patients to become cost-conscious consumers.

Medical schools and residency programs are developing ways to introduce cost and value into their curricula; overall, 129 of 140 medical schools reported offering a required course on health care costs during the 2013 to 2014 school year. The University of California, Los Angeles, has been incorporating these themes into daily lessons. The importance of initiating conversations about cost with older mentors is also emphasized. The information tends to be more meaningful for students and residents once they have seen its direct impact on patients.

"It's becoming second nature for students to consider whether a test is necessary, given its price tag," according to the article. "And that means that in the future, they'll be better prepared when their patients start quizzing them about costs."

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Arts Observation Curriculum May Be Beneficial for Medical Students

Posted on Sat, Jul 18, 2015
Arts Observation Curriculum May Be Beneficial for Medical Students

Learning to observe objectively and communicate observations important in clinical practice.

(HealthDay News) -- Use of an arts observation curriculum can help students learn to observe objectively and articulate their observations, which are important traits for clinical practice, according to an article published online July 3 in Academic Medicine.

Caroline Wellbery, M.D., Ph.D., and Rebecca A. McAteer, M.D., from the Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C., describe the importance of observation and an arts observation pedagogy in medicine.

The authors note that many skills from an arts observation pedagogy can be applied to medicine, including close observation of the natural world, which is essential within medical culture. In addition, close reading of nature writing reinforces the observational skills that are needed in the clinical realm. Literary precision emphasizes the importance of detail within clinical practice. Observation while considering multiple perspectives helps students learn to appreciate the role of witness, and demonstrates that seeing is highly filtered by the observer, an important concept for clinical practice. Describing what learners see can help improve communication skills needed to express problems and possible improvements within their sphere of influence. The ability to articulate these thoughts is important for their work with physicians, colleagues, and patients.

"Teaching observational skills via an arts observation curriculum may offer a satisfying solution to an educational quandary that pits critical analysis against a focus on improvement," the authors write.

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