Research Outline

Changes to Medical Education for New Doctors


The goal of this research is to identify changes in how new doctors are being educated, with an emphasis on teaching during residency and pediatrics, as is available. This information will be used to predict future behaviors of new doctors and their approaches to practicing medicine based on what they have been taught, as well as identifying how to best engage with them.

Early Findings

AMA Report

  • In 2017, the American Medical Association's Council on Long Range Planning and Development issued a report titled "Medical Education: Health Care Trends 2016 – 2017 Edition."
  • Survey results discussed in the report showed that from academic years 2007-2008 to 2014-2015, "the number of [medical] schools requiring interprofessional education doubled" (44% during the former and 88% in the later).
  • The emphasis on work-life balance is also impacting medical education, as the report predicted that new doctors "will select specialties with less demanding training and time requirements."

New Educational Model Being Tested for Pediatrics

  • In 2009, a test pilot project was launched within medical school education titled "the Education in Pediatrics Across the Continuum (EPAC) Project."
  • "[F]our medical schools" agreed to participate in the project, which centers around the idea of "a competency-based medical education model" with the goal of reducing medical school to three years of education compared to the traditional four years. Those medical schools are the University of California at San Francisco, University of Colorado, University of Minnesota, and University of Utah.
  • The philosophy behind the project is "that students who advance through medical school on the basis of their mastery of certain competencies are just as prepared for residency as those who complete four years of education."
  • An interesting finding from the project, as explained by a professor involved with it, has been the realization "that some students can make decisions about specialty choices a lot earlier than we think, and that opens the door for us to create different pathways for medical students, instead of assuming that one size fits all."
  • A pediatrics professor at the University of Utah who is involved with the project said the following about the project: "I think this is going to be a game changer when it comes to medical education."

ACGME's New Standards

  • In 2017, new standards were announced by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education regarding "U.S. residency and fellowship programs."
  • One of those new standards was that residents, in their first year, were allowed to work as many as 24 hours consecutively, though there was no requirement for such.
  • Overall, the new changes implemented by the ACGME were described as ones that "will transform the culture of resident education itself, rooting it in high-quality care, patient safety, and physician well-being. And for the first time ever, residency programs will be held accountable for establishing and enforcing such a culture."
  • Some of the new changes emphasized a renewed focus on not burning out residencies by overworking them.

Summary of Initial Research

  • Our initial research identified that there's considerable information available about ways in which medical education has been changing for new doctors within the past 10-15 years with regard to both residency programs and in the classroom.
  • Overall, there appears to be limited information available about such changes specifically in the area of pediatrics, with the exception of the program we included in our early findings.
  • We provided two proposed next steps below regarding ideas for further research on this topic, but please let us know if there are other areas we can explore as well!