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Radiology. 2006 Sep;240(3):639-47.

Medical education research: challenges and opportunities.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, E3/311 Clinical Science Center, 600 Highland Ave, Madison, WI 53792-3252, USA.


Medical education research is not as well understood or established as is basic science or clinical research. The reasons for this are many, but most importantly, there is insufficient funding for medical education research and a dearth of skilled and experienced medical education researchers. There is no nationally centralized force to build and sustain a medical education research enterprise. Yet faculty and training programs are held accountable for the quality of patient care rendered by those that they train. New regulatory requirements at all levels of physician training demand assurance that physicians are competent to practice in the current health care environment and provide optimal patient care. Documenting the relationship between education and patient outcomes represents one of the biggest challenges and greatest opportunities in medical education research. There is no research infrastructure in place to support such outcomes studies. The majority of medical education research that is currently being done is supported by volunteer faculty time and resources. This is not a viable model to sustain a medical education research mission. Compared with medicine in general, these challenges are multiplied in radiology, where there are relatively fewer extramural research dollars available and skilled investigators to carry out radiology education research. Building a critical mass of radiology education researchers through education fellowship programs specific to radiology and mobilizing the existing radiology education researchers into one group with a shared vision are opportunities for elevating the status of radiology education research.

(c) RSNA, 2006.

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