EDITOR’S NOTE: The New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders (NJCTS) has been delivering its Patient-Centered Medical Education Program to doctors, resident physicians and other health-care professionals at hospitals and education centers in New Jersey and Connecticut since 2010.
When health-care providers take patients’ perspectives into consideration, patients are more likely to be actively engaged in their treatment and more satisfied with their care. This is called patient-centered care, and it has been the central focus of the curriculum at the University of Missouri (MU) School of Medicine since 2005. Recently, MU researchers have developed a credible tool to assess whether medical students have learned and are applying specific behaviors that characterize patient-centered care.
The researchers first worked with real patients to identify a list of specific behaviors that demonstrated physicians were providing patient-centered care. By defining these detailed, specific patient-centered behaviors, the researchers have been able to tailor the educational experience at the MU School of Medicine to help students gain these skills.
MU medical students now are assessed on their ability to deliver the care in ways the patients expect; students must perform at a satisfactory level on the patient-centered care exam to graduate from the MU School of Medicine.
“The test forces the future physician to go beyond just determining a diagnosis and to focus on behaviors that play an essential role to the effectiveness of the care he or she provides,” said Kimberly Hoffman, Ph.D, associate dean for curriculum and assessment, and research associate professor of family and community medicine at MU.
Hoffman is the author of a study describing how the assessment tool for patient-centered care was developed at the MU School of Medicine. In the article, Hoffman also outlines a process for having patients validate the assessment.