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J Gen Intern Med. 2010 Sep;25 Suppl 4:S639-43. doi: 10.1007/s11606-010-1448-0.

The role for clinician educators in implementing healthcare improvement.

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  • 1Center for Leadership and Improvement, The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, Lebanon, NH 03766, USA. david.p.stevens@dartmouth.edu


Clinician educators-who work at the intersection of patient care and resident education-are well positioned to respond to calls for better, safer patient care and resident education. Explicit lessons that address implementing health care improvement and associated residency training came out of the Academic Chronic Care Collaboratives and include the importance of: (1) redesigning the clinical practice as a core component of the residency curriculum; (2) exploiting the efficiencies of the practice team; (3) replacing "faculty development" with "everyone's a learner;" (4) linking faculty across learning communities to build expertise; and (5) using rigorous methodology to design and evaluate interventions for practice redesign. There has been progress in addressing three thorny academic faculty issues-professional satisfaction, promotion and publication. For example, consensus criteria have been proposed for both faculty promotion as well as the institutional settings that nurture academic health care improvement careers, and the SQUIRE Publication Guidelines have been developed as a general framework for scholarly improvement publications. Extensive curricular resources exist for developing the expert faculty cadre. Curricula from representative training programs include quantitative and qualitative research methods, statistical methodologies appropriate for measuring systems change, organizational culture, management, leadership and scholarly writing for the improvement literature. Clinician educators-particularly those in general internal medicine-bear the principal responsibility for both patient care and resident training in academic departments of internal medicine. The intersection of these activities presents a unique opportunity for their playing a central role in implementing health care improvement and associated residency training. However, this role in academic settings will require an unambiguous development strategy both for faculty and their institutions.

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