Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Learning Continuum

Over the last few days, I've learned a lot  about the continuum of learning that is going to be needed in the future of healthcare.

I just finished attending the annual meeting of the Alliance of Independent Academic Medical Centers (www.aiamc.org). I enjoy this meeting because it brings together leaders from over 80 other academic centers similar to MedStar and gives us a chance to discuss timely topics (see last year's post on AIAMC for more information).

This year, there were several good lectures about how we need to prepare the next generation of caregivers for the the rapid changes we are experiencing in healthcare. For example, Dr. Susan Skochelak from the AMA discussed (picture at left) how there are a dozen medical schools testing new approaches with flexible, individualized learning plans which focus on chronic care (and not just acute care), team-based care (rather than only the single physician's role) and population health (in addition to the single patient needs).

There were also many lectures about how only a learning healthcare system will thrive during this period of rapid change. We need to be testing new healthcare delivery approaches in an integrated manner, involving administration, medical leadership, education and research. Implementation science, research on the delivery of care and health services research were viewed as areas that independent medical centers can lead healthcare reform.  I was also very proud that a prime example used was MedStar's quality and safety initiatives with Drs. David Mayer (VP of Quality and Safety), Kelly Smith (Scientific Director of Quality and Safety) and William Thomas (retired EVP of Medical Affairs) presenting (at left) how MedStar has integrated research with system safety initiatives.

And then I  was brought down to earth....... to remember where the learning continuum all starts - with simple curiosity and eagerness to learn.  Below my son was busy playing on his iPad mini when this little boy, and then his sister, just wanted to see what he was doing and then wanted to learn how to play the game. That eagerness to learn new things will serve them well in the future, as it will us all!


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