Over 500 GME leaders gathered in Phoenix recently for the annual Association for Hospital Medical Education Institute. ECG enjoyed serving as a conference sponsor and exhibitor and discussing the changes occurring nationally across the GME landscape. This year’s conference featured a variety of tailored educational tracks for institutional leaders, program directors, and osteopathic educators, as well as a keynote plenary session on the vision and strategies of the ACGME provided by its CEO, Thomas Nasca, MD.
Two key themes emerged throughout the educational sessions:
- GME leaders continue to face pressure to clearly articulate financial performance and use resources efficiently.
- Opportunities remain to enhance the clinical learning environment.
Understanding Financial Performance and Utilizing Resources
Teaching hospitals and GME programs rely on a variety of methods to document and account for residency-related revenue and expenses. The lack of a common accounting methodology—as well as the high degree of variability in what programs provide in nonpersonnel support such as meals, lab coats, travel allowances, etc.—makes understanding and improving GME financial performance a complex undertaking.
Presenters at this year’s conference provided several recommendations to help GME leaders clearly document a financial baseline that can be used to measure growth and change, including:
- Defining a consistent approach to GME budgeting and clearly articulating expense categories that are attributable to GME.
- Working with the hospital finance team to describe available revenue streams to offset GME expenses.
- Developing financial performance targets and metrics of success and achieving consensus on comparative benchmarks.
Understanding the current financial performance of the GME enterprise may require significant data gathering and analysis. However, this worthwhile effort can help GME leadership align resource allocation with the organization’s broader strategic goals and demonstrate the value GME creates relative to the investment.
Enhancing the Clinical Learning Environment
Physician wellness and burnout—for both faculty and residents—are hot-button issues in GME today. These critical issues can be considered and addressed as part of a broader focus on organizational culture and enhancing the clinical learning environment. Potential areas of focus include:
- Integrating learners into multidisciplinary care team models across the clinical enterprise.
- Promoting an environment of inquiry where residents and faculty have open dialogue and collaboratively develop care plans for their patients.
- Encouraging faculty and residents to establish healthy coping strategies to mitigate the personal and professional challenges associated with the demands of their training and career.
- Implementing resident and faculty training focused on professionalism and physician wellness.