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J Grad Med Educ. 2010 Sep;2(3):384-8. doi: 10.4300/JGME-D-09-00092.1.

Teaching and assessing systems-based practice: a pilot course in health care policy, finance, and law for radiation oncology residents.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Under the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) Outcome Project, residency programs are required to provide data on educational outcomes and evidence for how this information is used to improve resident education.

OBJECTIVE:

To teach and assess systems-based practice through a course in health care policy, finance, and law for radiation oncology residents, and to determine its efficacy.

METHODS AND MATERIALS:

We designed a pilot course in health care policy, finance, and law related to radiation oncology. Invited experts gave lectures on policy issues important to radiation oncology and half of the participants attended the American Society for Therapeutic Radiation and Oncology (ASTRO) Advocacy Day. Participants completed pre- and postcourse tests to assess their knowledge of health policy.

RESULTS:

Six radiation oncology residents participated, with 5 (84%) completing all components. For the 5 residents completing all assessments, the mean precourse score was 64% and the mean postcourse score was 84% (Pā€‰ā€Š=ā€Šā€‰.05). Improvement was noted in all 3 sections of health policy, finance, and medical law. At the end of the course, 5 of 6 residents were motivated to learn about health policy, and 4 of 6 agreed it was important for physicians to be involved in policy matters.

CONCLUSIONS:

Teaching radiation oncology residents systems-based practice through a course on health policy, finance, and law is feasible and was well received. Such a course can help teaching programs comply with the ACGME Outcome Project and would also be applicable to trainees in other specialties.

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