Department of Pediatrics; Department of Medicine; Department of Family Medicine and Community Health
Congresses as Topic; Education, Medical; Health Care Reform; Humans; Intervention Studies; Longitudinal Studies; New England; *Organizational Innovation; Physician's Practice Patterns; Primary Health Care; *Staff Development
Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Medical Education | Preventative Medicine | Primary Care
BACKGROUND: Many reports, including the Future of Family Medicine, have called for change in primary care, but few have defined, implemented, and evaluated mechanisms to address such change. The regional, interdisciplinary Primary Care Renewal Project was designed to address problems in primary care practice and teaching related to practice management, compensation, increasing responsibility for teaching, and faculty development.
METHODS: Twelve northeastern US medical schools assembled a conference attended by teams of key stakeholders representing both clinical and educational missions. Teams developed and implemented an institutional plan to address identified needs. Outcome data was collected during, and for 1 year after, the conference.
RESULTS: Findings demonstrate novel ways of improving learning experiences, coordinating and centralizing planning efforts, and addressing faculty needs. The magnitude of organizational change ranged from establishing new administrative units with significant institutional authority (eg, restructuring dean's office) to enhancing the strategic planning process and refining mission statements to reflect emphasis on primary care.
CONCLUSIONS: A well-planned, regional interdisciplinary effort that fosters the development of concrete plans can be associated with significant change in medical education. A central theme emerged--that primary care medicine will survive only if institutions align their educational and clinical missions and foster system-wide change.