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Acad Med. 2007 Apr;82(4):331-40.

Lessons from industry: one school's transformation toward "lean" curricular governance.

Author information

1
Department of Behavioral Science, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington, Kentucky 40536-0298, USA.

Abstract

As medical education grapples with organizational calls for centralized curricular oversight, programs may be compelled to respond by establishing highly vertical, stacked governance structures. Although these models offer discrete advantages over the horizontal, compartmentalized structures they are designed to replace, they pose new challenges to ensuring curricular quality and the educational innovations that drive the curricula. The authors describe a hybrid quality-assurance (QA) governance structure introduced in 2003 at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine (UKCOM) that ensures centralized curricular oversight of the educational product while allowing individualized creative control over the educational process. Based on a Lean production model, this approach draws on industry experiences that strategically separate institutional accountability (management) for a quality curriculum from the decision-making processes required to ensure it (production). In so doing, the authors acknowledge general similarities and key differences between overseeing the manufacture of a complex product versus the education of a physician-emphasizing the structured, sequential, and measurable nature of each process. Further, the authors briefly trace the emergence of quality approaches in manufacturing and discuss the philosophical changes that accompany transition to an institutional governance system that relies on vigorous, robust performance measures to offer continuous feedback on curricular quality.

PMID:
17414187
DOI:
10.1097/ACM.0b013e3180334ada
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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