Incorporating Medical Students into the Development of Age Friendly Healthcare Systems through Quality Improvement Projects




Thompson, Sadie
Miller, Cassidy
Jackson, Garrett
Hadley, Lesca
Gibson, John
Severance, Jennifer


0000-0002-2853-5918 (Jackson, Garrett)
0000-0001-7565-2992 (Thompson, Sadie)

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Purpose: The world is aging. Health systems are often not prepared for the number or complexity of geriatric patients. Caring for this vulnerable population through age-friendly health systems is imperative for our future. With the universal lack of geriatricians, family physicians primarily care for the elderly population and are therefore ideally placed to lead changes to improve the lives of geriatric patients. The Rural Osteopathic Medical Education (ROME) Program partnered with UNTHSC's Center for Geriatrics to create geriatric-focused quality improvement projects (QIPs) for medical students to complete in their family medicine clerkships. Methods: Two cohorts of ROME students interviewed rural family physicians regarding the needs of their geriatric patient population. Students then partnered with the physician to develop geriatric QIPs which were implemented in the clinics. Following the conclusion of the projects, students were surveyed about their experience implementing geriatric QIPs during their clerkships. Results: In the first cohort, 100% of students stated that they were better able to analyze, collect, and communicate data about quality improvements in practice. 100% of students in this cohort stated that they would integrate QIPs into their practices. In the second cohort, 76% of students stated that they were better able to analyze and collect data for QIP. In this cohort, 71% of the students stated that they would actively integrate QIPs into their practices. 67% of the family physicians strongly agreed that QIPs were useful to their practice. Conclusions: Students identified best practices to address the health needs and concerns of older adults and their caregivers. The QIPs improved care for the elderly in addition to providing experience in implementing quality improvement methods that can be used in the students' future medical practices. Incorporating medical students into QIPs in family medicine clinics is valuable for the patients, students, and physicians.