Residents Are Key

I read a comment posted by a resident concerning the topic “What does it take, “ that appeared in the blog Not Running a Hospital by Paul Levy. “What does it take” concerned itself with process science education. The resident wrote, “I am a medical resident. To answer your question there is precious little on care delivery and process improvement. We are cheap labor and anytime we are not working clinically requires someone to get paid to do the work. My education in this area is strictly of my own initiative.”

The resident continued, “Indeed it can be viewed as a paradox that the doctors of America, a group of dedicated, well-intentioned, intelligent, and highly trained individuals, constitute one of the top-ranked public health hazards in the country when they work together in the nation’s hospitals. That they collectively have not made a dent in the problem of reducing harm is, I believe, a product of their training.”

So if health care improvement is tied to process, where will our new physicians get the training to make a difference? Undergraduate medical education simply does not see it as their role. “And so it falls to hospital based education programs – mainly graduate medical education for the residency programs and, to a lesser extent, clinical rotations for the undergraduate medical students – to address this deficit.”

This resident’s comment concisely states why ES4P exists. The ES4P faculty realizes that the problems facing physicians today are not clinical. Medical education does a wonderful job to impart clinical knowledge but does very little, if anything, to equip medical students, interns, and residents to improve health care delivery. Each of the ES4P seminars is designed to impart practical knowledge that can be used immediately. More importantly, the seminars provide knowledge and tools for all physicians, not just residents or medical students. The seminar on Clinical Practice Improvement specifically focuses on process science, while the seminars on Personal Finance and Legal Issues and Preparing for Life After Residency also offer no-nonsense information that is easily applied.

We, at ES4P, whole heartily agree that reducing patient harm will not be effectively addressed until physicians are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and tools to improve the health care delivery processes. Not only will patient harm be reduced, but also the quality of care will increase while measurably reducing cost.

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