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Medicine and Society

Key Areas of Study

  • Health Policy
  • Medical Economics
  • Health Care Systems
  • Physicians in Society
  • Contemporary Issues in Health and Health Care

Medicine and Society Measurable Preclinical Competencies:
For common pathological processes (tobacco related illness, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, common malignancies, vaccine preventable diseases, HIV/AIDS, drug resistant pathogens, low-birthweight infants, etc.):

  1. Describe the role of social and economic factors in its pathogenesis and prevalence. (Examples include: educational attainment, industry and marketing, SES status, economic incentives, employer and school policy, governmental policy, cultural factors, etc.)
  2. Describe population-based strategies to prevent it, or reduce its impact or prevalence
  3. Describe the roles of physicians in identifying and implementing strategies to prevent it, or reduce its impact or prevalence.
  4. Describe and define barriers to implementing these strategies.

For clinical interventions (therapeutic or preventive) for common pathological processes (see list above):

  1. Describe and define the barriers to access appropriate care
  2. Describe and define strategies to reduce or remove barriers to appropriate care
  3. Describe and define obstacles to implementing those strategies.

Medicine and Society Measurable Preclinical Competencies:

Content Areas Learning Objectives
Access to Care (Policy)
  • Identify barriers to accessing appropriate health care
    • Health care financing (Econ)
      • Describe different payers (private insurance, governmental, self-pay), and their relative roles and relationships
      • Describe alternative funding mechanisms and their potential impact on health care access, cost control, and delivery
      • Describe types of insurance plans and benefit types
      Provider payment (Econ/Systems)
      • Describe the different ways in which hospitals and physicians are paid
      Cost Control (Econ/Systems)
      • Identify cost drivers in medicine and their relative roles
      • Compare and contrast different methods of cost control
      • Discuss the role of incentives in health care delivery and utilization
      • Discuss the concept of rationing and its political, economic, social, and medical implications
      Organization of health care (Systems)
      • Describe different models of health care organization
      • Discuss the effect of health care organization on the experience and behavior of physicians and patients
      • Describe the different ways that physicians are organized under different systems of care
      Special categories of care (Policy/systems)
      • Describe the unique challenges in financing and
      • delivering adequate mental health services
      • Describe the interaction between utilization of mental health services and acute and chronic medical services
      • Describe the role of long-term care in the health care system and US society
      • Describe how long-term care is financed and its implication on acute care
      Comparative Health Systems (Systems)
      • Describe different models of health care finance and delivery in other nations
      • Compare and contrast other national systems to the U.S. system
      • Describe how features of these systems could enhance the U.S. system
      Industry (Policy/econ/physician in soc)
      • Describe the role of the pharmaceutical, biotech, and device industries in producing health care goods and driving the health care costs
      • Discuss the relationship between public and private contributions and interests in R&D
      • Describe the process of bringing a new drug or device to market
      • Discuss the role of marketing in changing patient and physician behavior and the utilization
      • Discuss the ethical aspects of physician/industry relationships
      Workforce (Policy/econ/systems)
      • Describe the different types of professionals involved in healthcare and the relationships between them
      • Describe the distribution of the health care workforce and factors which affect supply and demand for practitioners
      • Describe how workforce diversity affects the availability and quality of services
      Quality and Safety (Systems)
      • Define quality in healthcare and discuss how it is measured.
      • Describe different processes for improving health care quality and safety
      • Describe and discuss the role of systems and technology in improving quality and safety
      • Practice health care quality and improvement processes
      Regulation/Legal (Policy/Systems)
      • Define the differences between laws and regulation and public vs. private enforcement
      • Describe different organizations that regulate health care, their authority, and their enforcement roles
      • Discuss how regulations constrain behavior, how this affects health care delivery, and why professions and society accept these tradeoffs
      • Discuss the limits on physician organizing and negotiating
      • Discuss malpractice litigation and liability insurance as one example of regulation affecting provider behavior
      • Discuss risk management strategies
      Population based health (Policy/econ)
      • Discuss the tension between public health, the common good, and individual autonomy
      • Perform basic costs/benefits analysis of different strategies for addressing the same medical issues
      • Discuss how the provision of very costly services affects the availability and costs of commonly needed services
      The Physician in Society
      • Interact with physicians who have taken different leadership roles in improving health and addressing the unmet health needs.
      • Debate and discuss the scope of a physician’s professional obligations to society
      • Describe the role of public financing of medical education and discuss its implications on a physician’s professional obligations
      The Social Determinants of Health
      • Define the contributions of income, status, and education on health and illness
      • Explore how income, education, and status affect health decision-making and health related behavior
      • Discuss the role of consumerism on health behavior
      • Discuss the concept of healthy communities, and the social conditions that promote health and healthy behaviors