July 28, 2016

New VUSM program set to spur innovation in medical education

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine recently awarded its inaugural Faculty Fellowship to Advance Medical Education (FAME).

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine recently awarded its inaugural Faculty Fellowship to Advance Medical Education (FAME).

The FAME program’s $250,000 in funding will support selected medical educators interested in developing and implementing projects designed to support learning across all phases of medical education, while also improving patient care.

The program was made possible by a gift from Dan Crockett, president and CEO of Franklin American Mortgage Co., who made the contribution to honor Anderson Spickard III, M.D., M.S., associate professor of Medicine and assistant dean for Education Design and Technology.

“I am so grateful to Dan Crockett. He has been such an effective entrepreneur and leader in our community for years,” Spickard said. “His engagement in our mission to train the providers of tomorrow adds to the excellence and joy of these important endeavors.”

Bonnie Miller, M.D., executive vice president of Educational Affairs and senior associate dean for Health Sciences Education, is delighted with the gift and eager to see the impact it will have on learners and educators.

“This is one of the very few times we have received a gift aimed at promoting innovation within the education process,” Miller said. “The gift provides a great opportunity for us to make a difference within medical education.

“Our educators are incredibly innovative and creative. This will allow them to put into action some of the great ideas that have a high likelihood of positively impacting our learners.”
The fellowships were awarded to two teams. Each will receive $50,000 over a two-year period. Additional awards will be granted in the future.

Lori Deitte, M.D., associate professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences, and Leslie Fowler, assistant in Anesthesiology, received one of the first FAME awards for QuizTime, a smartphone application designed to improve the decision-making process among Radiology and Anesthesiology residents.

Initially introduced as a pilot study, QuizTime was well received by users and warranted additional exposure, said Fowler. This is how the app worked: Every day at 10 a.m. a group of residents received a specific question based on a previously identified gap in medical content knowledge. Users had 24 hours to respond to questions that were based on foundational knowledge within each discipline as well as questions that highlighted new information that needed to be shared.

According to the researchers, the application has the potential to impact physician behavior, which in turn would positively affect patient care. QuizTime will be launched in July.

“For example, we would push out a question about the proper hemoglobin levels for patients being considered for blood products,” Fowler said. “It will allow us to evaluate knowledge acquisition and retention for our learner groups as well as potential clinical process improvement. The bottom line is to ensure our patients’ safety,” she added.

FAME provided an opportunity to integrate real-time learning into the workplace using a smartphone app while allowing the team to continue the app development as well as have the resources to have the data analyzed.

“This project is all about helping physicians help our patients, and as we accomplish that goal, we will also be saving money with ordering fewer tests and blood products that may not be necessary.”

The other team, headed by Tyson Heller, M.D., assistant professor of Clinical Medicine, Section of Hospital Medicine and Public Health, and Ed Vasilevskis, M.D., assistant professor of Medicine, will develop a rotation focusing on bedside procedures.

Designed for medical students, residents and attending physicians, the Bedside Procedural Service is set to begin in the fall.

The growing trend of decreased proficiency of bedside procedures in academic hospitals across the country was concerning and prompted Heller’s team to act when the fellowship application process opened in early 2016.

“When it comes to performing basic bedside procedures, there is a lack of confidence, competency and supervision,” Heller said. “There was no framework for teaching bedside procedures and we saw an urgent need for formal instruction, with the ultimate goal being patient safety and comfort.”

Bedside procedures include lumbar puncture, thoracentesis (fluid removal from lung), abdominal paracentesis (fluid removal from abdomen), establishment of IV access, arterial blood gas collection and nasogastric /feeding tube placement.

Heller and a colleague will travel to Johns Hopkins, one of the first academic centers to create a bedside procedure service, for initial training.

According to the project proposal, Heller seeks to “create a comprehensive curriculum that standardizes the teaching and performance of bedside procedures through online modules, simulation and hands-on elective rotations that emphasize the procedure process from onset to termination … our overarching aim is to develop and implement a procedural skills service to meet the training needs of learners across the continuum while improving patients’ satisfaction and safety.”

According to Miller, the first call for FAME proposals created a lot of excitement.

“Our goal is to better prepare learners across the continuum to practice medicine in a rapidly changing health care environment,” she said. “There were many, many great submissions and we are eager to see the impact this fellowship will have on medical education and on our diverse groups of learners.”